2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
For many young adults the college years are often associated with increased alcohol consumption and poor dietary intake. Both factors independently decrease nutritional status through an increased risk of developing vitamin deficiencies, GI diseases, and other bodily disorders. A combination of the two factors further exacerbates such risks. The relationship between alcohol consumption and quality of dietary intake was investigated in 99 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky (age 20.50 ± 1.84 yrs). In an effort to quantify the subjective nature of the quality of an individual's dietary intake, a unique number, called the dietary analysis number (DAN), was created that quantitatively represented an individual's nutritional status via dietary intake. No correlations were found between DAN scores and non-binging alcohol consumption (p=0.849). Those individuals who participated in regular binge drinking had statistically significantly higher DAN scores (13.41 ± 10.68) compared to those individuals who did not participate in regular binge drinking (9.53 ± 8.70, p=0.05). Of those individuals who consumed alcohol, males consumed a statistically significant higher average number of drinks per drinking session (6.34 ± 3.00) compared to females (4.36 ± 2.13, p=0.003). Fifty-two percent of males and 48% of females surveyed binged at least once a month, and both genders' average alcohol consumptions were above levels considered binge drinking. Despite the lack of a correlation between alcohol consumption and dietary intake this research could spur the generation of interventions that encourage students to drink more responsibly.