The College Student’s Perception of Healthful Eating

Rebekah Tsang, The Master’s College

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Abstract Current research suggests college students have fluctuating eating patterns and are confused about what constitutes a healthful diet. The purpose of this study was to identify the sources by which college students receive nutritional information and what constitutes the best dietary plan for maintaining a healthful lifestyle. The survey instrument used in this study measured the perceptions of college students about their practices in healthful eating and the sources they consulted to receive healthful eating information. It aligned with research that suggests college students choose to consult peers and the Internet for nutritional information over the consultation of a professional. The survey also suggested that college students understand fast food to be contradictory to a healthful lifestyle and choose to minimize their carbohydrate intake but are confused about the best dietary plan to maintain a healthful lifestyle. The results indicate that college students consult their peers and the internet over a professional with regards to healthful eating and that professionals in nutrition should find creative ways to demonstrate proper nutritional habits through the use of peer teaching and through avenues such as the Internet.

Introduction Current college students and twenty-first century adults assimilate a wide spectrum of opinions on what determines if a person is healthy or not. Keeling’s research revealed that “female dietetics majors used both healthy and unsound weight-loss strategies (and depended upon both reasonable and questionable sources of information)” (Keeling, 2001, p.154), which may indicate that the general population is muddled by the mixed messages and nutritional propaganda they receive from both the government and weight-loss program marketers.

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