2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background- Over the past several years there has been an increase in stimulant use on college campuses. Stimulants are used as a study aid, for weight loss, and just as something to help people get through the day. There are various forms of stimulants that students use including prescription medications such as Vyvanse, Concentra and Adderall, and non prescription supplements such as No Doz.
Objective- The goal of this study was to determine whether stimulant use had a positive affect on G.P.A, food intake and/or concentration Design- A survey was distributed that included questions about student's stimulant usage (both prescription and over the counter), G.P.A, average caloric intake and whether or not stimulant usage increased their ability to study.
Participants/Setting: The effect of stimulant drug usage on test scores and overall G.P.A. and food intake was studied in 150 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. All students surveyed were between the ages of 17-23 years and were traditional, full time students at the University. Survey's were distributed in William T. Young library, A 500 level Nutrition classroom, various sorority and fraternity houses and in classroom buildings around campus. The study took place in February 2010.
Results: 150 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky, 64 males (age 20.39 +/- 1.44 years) and 88 females (age 20.72 +/- 3.06 years) completed the survey. 52% of males and 51% of female students have used either prescription or OTC stimulant medications during their college career. Of those who used stimulant medications, 51% of females and 70% of males had illegally obtained them. The predominant reason for usage was to improve study habits and grades, and 72% of students who had taken them, said that their study habits and grades indeed improved. 69% of students reported that they felt the usage of these medicines allowed them to concentrate, thus allowing them to achieve a better G.P.A . This was all despite the fact that the nonusers actually acquired a higher G.P.A., with a G.P.A of 3.51 compared to the users 3.29. 62% of students who had used stimulant medications also stated that the stimulants decreased their appetite and food intake. Despite the drop in food intake, 60% of students said that they made less healthy food choices while using the medications.
Conclusion: Most students reported that they felt that the usage of these medicines allowed them to achieve a better G.P.A, despite the fact that the nonusers actually have a higher G.P.A. Stimulant drug use impacts on G.P.A, concentration, and food intake need to be more thoroughly studied so that students can be better informed before making the decision of whether or not to use these medicines.