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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Benefits of web-based nutrition education for college students

Meredith Watt, MSW1, Debra L. Franko, PhD2, Julie A. Cunningham, MPH1, Traci C. Green, MSc3, Jessica Pappas, BA1, and Tara M. Cousineau, PhD1. (1) Inflexxion, Inc., 320 Needham Street, Suite 100, Newton, MA 02464, 617-332-6028, mwatt@inflexxion.com, (2) Department of Counseling Psychology and Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University, 203 Lake Hall, 360 Hungtington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, (3) Chronic disease epidemiology, Yale University School of Public Health, 60 College St., New Haven, CT 06510

College students generally have poor eating habits and minimal knowledge of healthy eating behaviors and nutritional requirements. The consequences of poor eating are manifest in both obesity as well as a number of health concerns. In fact, obesity rates are highest in young adults aged 18-26. Developmentally, college students are at a crucial stage as they transition from parental control over lifestyle behaviors to assuming responsibility for their own health choices. To address the needs of this audience, a web-based personalized nutrition education program was developed, which was informed by social learning and motivational theories for behavior change and provided a tailored approach in delivering empirically-based information and feedback. A randomized-controlled study to test the efficacy of the online nutrition program was conducted at 5 colleges (N=406 students) across the U.S. Students were randomized either to the experimental condition (tailored nutrition website) or to an attention control website (anatomy education website) for two 45-minute sessions. Repeated measures ANOVA from pre- to post testing indicated improved nutrition knowledge for overweight experimental subjects (BM1 > = 25) compared to control subjects (p=.013). Chi square analysis revealed that 37% of experimental subjects advanced at least 1 stage-of-change for fruit and vegetable intake relative to only 13% of control subjects (chi sq=20.87; df=1; p<.001). A web-based interactive nutrition program may offer colleges a viable means of providing nutrition education and obesity prevention as an adjunct to what is available for students at campus health services.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to

Keywords: College Students, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Promoting Health in College Populations

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA