Analyzing the Effect of Nutrition Education on Snack Food Vending Choices of College Students

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The Ohio State University

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Over the last three decades, the U.S. has seen a steady rise in obesity. A commonly proposed solution to combating obesity is to provide nutrition education about healthy eating. While research in this area is on the rise, little to no research on education coupled with a policy that supports healthy snacking has been done on college students, many of whom are making basic snacking and meal decisions for themselves for the first time in their lives. In this study, a pretest/posttest control group design was used to evaluate the impact of nutrition education on snack food choices in college students. Undergraduates enrolled in an introductory human nutrition class were the treatment group (n=71), and undergraduates enrolled in an introductory marketing course were the control group (n=76). Students in both groups were shown a photo of an actual vending machine and were then asked to select an item from the photo that they would choose given five different scenarios (meal replacement, meal supplement, craving, energy, and snack). Logistic regression models were used to evaluate changes in snack food selections between the treatment and control groups. Results demonstrate that students in the treatment group choose significantly healthier snack food choices for scenario 3 (craving, p=.0422) and scenario 4 (energy, p=.0013). From these results, we concluded that nutrition education may impact student snack choices in some situations.



Human Nutrition, Snack, College students, Nutrition Education