2011-2012 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: Many college student experience stress during exam time. Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental, or emotional adjustment or response, which may cause someone to feel frustrated, angry, nervous or anxious. Due to high levels of stress it is suggested that an increase in cortisol may induce an increase in appetite stimulating hormones. Stress plays an important role on a students appetite and food cravings. For many college students, food becomes a mechanism for coping and dealing with stress.
Methods: Data was collected from 80 college students (57 females and 23 males) ranging between ages 18 to 30 years old at the University of Kentucky. Self-reporting surveys were distributed randomly to students from various academic backgrounds. The survey recorded the participants stress level by asking certain questions about financial support, job outside of school, how many exams they have in a week, if they drink when they are stressed, what kind of foods they eat when they are stressed, and if they skip meals.
Results: The data included that 36.25% eat out 1 time/week when stressed. 42.50% skip breakfast and 31.25% skip lunch when stressed. Also 55% said they do not eat healthy when stressed. 48.75% said they do not consume alcohol when they are stressed. The results from the pearson test and t-test were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: The results suggest that college students who are stressed out more eat little or eat unhealthy. Even though the percentage of students that drank alcohol when stressed was slightly low than the students who do not drink, there is still a correlation between the two variables.