Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences
Poster Board Number: 221
Objective: The objective was to identify effective, short-term nutrition interventions conducted on college campuses and to make recommendations for future interventions.
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted to identify nutrition interventions that effectively improved eating behaviors and choices on college campuses. PubMed was used to conduct the literature search and 914 studies were identified and screened. Inclusion criteria included primary research conducted between January 2002 and June 2017, subjects enrolled at a university located in the United States, nutrition-related intervention ≤ 6 months, and outcomes related to dietary intake or eating behaviors. Studies were excluded if the intervention targeted a specific population (e.g. athletes or people with eating disorders) or a specific nutrient or food item.
Results: Seventeen studies met inclusion criteria. Intervention foci varied and studies were organized into the following categories: dining hall and/or point of sale (n=6), course-based (n=5), self-regulation practices (n=3), and technology-based communication (n=3). The interventions measured several outcomes including a combination of anthropometrics, dietary intake, and behavioral or attitudinal surveys. All of the interventions led to some change in eating behavior or choices when comparing pre- and post-intervention measurements; however, interventions with nutrition education as part of a course tended to have the most practical impact. Technology-based interventions using text messaging also appeared effective.
Conclusions: Short-term nutrition interventions on college campuses varied by design and outcome measurements, which made conclusions difficult to draw. Effective interventions will likely depend on several factors including the campus environment, resources available, and the student body; however, course-based nutrition education interventions may be most influential. Future research should consider interventions that combine simple nutrition messages as part of new or existing courses on campus along with technology-based reinforcement. Research should also plan for meaningful assessment beyond the intervention period.
St. Catherine University
St. Paul, Minnesota