2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
The incidence of digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, has increased significantly in the United States. Stress from a fast-paced society and poor diet are thought to increase both the risk and severity of intestinal disorders. The relationship of stress, ethnicity, diet, and intestinal disease was investigated through survey research in 200 students at the University of Kentucky. Participants included 30 males and 163 females with an average age of 20.5 3.3 years. Eleven percent of students reported having an intestinal disorder, and 21.5% percent of students reporting having intestinal difficulties. Ethnicity did significantly impact disorder risk with 100% of people who reported having an intestinal disease being white/Caucasian, However, only 90% of people who reported having intestinal difficulties were white/Caucasian. Stress level was measured on scale of 1 to 5, 1 being low stress and 5 being high stress. The average stress level of those with intestinal disease was 3.77 .75, while the average for those without intestinal disease was 3.51 .92(p=0.1). Diet was also measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being poor diet and 5 being diet of good quality. The average quality of diet of those with an intestinal disease was 3.45 .80 while the average quality of diet for those without intestinal disease was 3.32 .74 (p=0.5). Further research is needed to explore the relationship between stress, diet, ethnicity, and intestinal disorders.