2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
In recent years, the United States has seen a significant increase in consumption of organic foods. Organic food intake is greatest in individuals who lead a "healthy" lifestyle, including eating a well-balanced diet, not smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, and engaging in regular physical activity. The relationship between consumption of organic foods and physical activity was examined in 135 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The participants included 87 males and 48 females. The students completed surveys inquiring about their weight, height, health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, frequency of physical activity, consumption of organic food, time period of being an organic food consumer, and factors that would exclude them for purchasing and eating organic foods. Forty-two percent of students consumed organic foods on a regular basis. 41% of males and 46% of females reported being both consumers of organic foods and participating in regular physical activity. There was a significant variability in participant body mass index (BMI) ranging from 19 to 33 kg/m2. The average BMI was 25.18±2.45 kg/m2. It was found that students who consumed organic foods had a lower BMI, (organic food eaters: BMI 24.21 ± 4.94 kg/m2 and non-organic food eaters: BMI 24.57± 5.01 kg/m2) and scored higher on the scale of regular physical activity levels (organic food eaters: 3.60 ± 1.04 on a scale on 1-5 with five being the most active and non-organic food eaters: 2.51± 1.22 than non-organic food eaters). 38.2% of the population surveyed who reported "not being consumers of organic foods" expressed that their reason was seeing no harm in consuming regular marketed food. Behind this, 21.1% of students expressed availability being there reason for not consuming and 19.7% quoted price being there reason. Because higher consumption of organic foods correlate to lower BMI and higher levels of physical activity, students need to be informed of the potential health benefits that are associated with consuming organic foods and being physically fit.