2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), people who require 2000 calories per day should consume 3 servings of fruits and 4 servings of vegetables each day. Furthermore, teen boys and active men who need about 2800 calories each day should have 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables each day. Research has shown that most college students are not meeting their requirements.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the availability and dietary consumption of fruits and vegetables by college students at the University of Kentucky (UK) and to determine whether meeting daily requirements of fruits and vegetables are associated with eating on or off campus.
Design: Analytical survey study.
Setting: University of Kentucky.
Subjects: 200 undergraduate college students selected at random from different classes and from the student center on the University of Kentucky campus. Students lived either on or off campus and ate on or off campus. Participants were within normal weight and normal body mass index (BMI)- 124 females with average age of 21 3.4 years, average weight of 136.1 21.2 lbs, and average BMI of 22.9 3.7 kg/m ; 76 males with average age of 21 4.0 years, average weight of 169.4 22.7 lbs, and average BMI of 23.7 2.9 kg/m .
Methods: A survey was administered to the subjects to gather information pertaining to their weight, age, gender, residence, whether they eat on or off campus, and their fruit and vegetable consumption per day. The data received from the surveys was analyzed using Microsoft Excel by compiling charts and graphs, as well as calculating averages and standard deviations.
Results: The results showed that 53% of students eat on campus and 47% do not. The average college student eats 5 times per week on campus. Out of the 53% of students who eat on campus, 66% are unable to meet their daily requirements of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, out of 47% of students who eat off campus, 61% are unable to meet their daily requirements of fruits and vegetables. It was found that a total of 127 out of the 200 student participants do not meet their daily requirements of fruits and vegetables. The most popular answer given for this lack of consumption was the price of fruits and vegetables. This study shows that college students need to be educated on the importance and benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption on a regular basis
Conclusion: Students who eat off campus have a 5 % (p = 0.05) increased chance of meeting their daily servings of fruits and vegetables compared to students who eat on campus. Thus, this study provides information on the inability of U.K college students to meet their daily fruits and vegetable requirements and reasons why this is the case.