2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Going to college often makes it difficult for female students to consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. Depending on their ability to prepare, purchase or store the food, research has shown most college females are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables daily. The average minimum recommendation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, for women ages 19-30 years who perform less than 30 minutes of physical activity daily is 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. The purpose of this study was to determine whether college females are consuming the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, what factors are preventing them from achieving the recommendations, and what fruits and vegetables are consumed most often. An analytical survey was given to 144 female undergraduate college students (age 19.8 +/- 1.51 yrs) at the University of Kentucky. The average body mass index (BMI) was 21.72 +/- 3.05 kg/m2, within the "normal" category. The majority of the 144 females, 24%, reported consuming 1 cup of fruit per day. Only 38% reported consuming the recommended 2 cups of fruit per day or higher. For vegetable consumption, 85% of females that participated consumed less than the 2 ½ cups of vegetables recommended per day. It is startling that so many women are not consuming near the amount that they need for continuous growth and maintenance in their bodies. Many of the reasons given in the open ended question concerning what prevents participants from consuming fruits and vegetables dealt with the expense, preparation time, and availability of the products. It would be beneficial for companies to create products with a longer shelf and at a price targeted for economically challenged students. Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in college women could help to prevent future diseases and disorders.