2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: Despite the benefits of eating adequate fruits and vegetables, only 25% of 18-25 year old students consume 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. From previous studies, low intake of fruits and vegetables appears to be related to high-risk behaviors, specifically alcohol consumption, in college students. Reports show that only 11% of frequent alcohol bingers in college consume the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Methods: To determine the correlation between alcohol intake and consumption of fruits and vegetables on the University of Kentucky campus, a survey was distributed to 200 collegiate young adults.
Results: Of the 200 surveys collected, 81 were males with ages ranging from 18-26 years (average 20.54 ± 2.19) and 119 were females with ages ranging from 18-39 years (average 20.69 ± 2.88). The students surveyed were asked about their alcohol consumption, frequency, and type, as well as, if they eat fruits and vegetables, how many servings they consume daily and the main factor affecting their consumption. From these males and females surveyed, 90% and 88% respectively responded as having consumed alcohol since attending college. A majority of participants reported regularly consuming fruits and vegetables (79% and 84% respectively). However, 78% of males and 72% of females reported they do not feel they eat healthy during or after drinking episodes. A significant difference was also found between students not meeting the USDA recommendations for fruits and vegetables, and those that self-reported there frequency of alcohol consumption as ‘often' and consuming 3-4 drinks during one drinking episode.
Conclusion: Of the participants that reported drinking while in college, a correlation was found in certain frequencies and volumes of alcohol consumed with students not meeting the USDA recommendations for both fruits and vegetables.