Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 62

P06-041 - Evaluating the Nutritional Quality of University Dining Hall Foods Across Meals and Calendar Days

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: University campus food environments can have a significant impact on the dietary intake of students, yet they remain relatively unevaluated. The objective of this project was to determine whether nutrient composition of dining hall food offerings varied across days of the week and by meal at a small, liberal arts university in New England.

Methods: Nutritional data for food offerings at the primary campus dining hall was collected for seven days (Monday through Sunday) during fall 2017. The timeframe of data collection captured a period when offerings were standard and representative of commonly available choices throughout the academic year. Data was analyzed to determine the average nutrient composition per serving of each food item between meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and across different days of the week. Nutrients of interest included calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and protein.

Results: We did not observe any significant differences in average nutrient composition across days of the week. In our between meal analysis, breakfast food offerings provided significantly less total fat and sodium per serving on average, as compared to food items provided at lunch. However, compared to lunch and dinner food offerings, breakfast food offerings additionally provided greater amounts of cholesterol and sugar per serving on average, in addition to less protein. Further, food offerings provided at lunch contained more sodium per serving compared to foods provided at dinner and breakfast. Overall, average calories, saturated fat, total carbohydrates, and fiber per serving did not vary across meals.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that nutrient composition of food offerings significantly varies across University dining hall meals, which may impact the dietary quality of students.

Funding Source:

National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities

CoAuthors: Layra Cintron-Rivera – Fairfield University; Lydia Dupree – Fairfield University; Catherine Andersen, PhD, RD – Fairfield University

Alexander Gaito

Fairfield University
Fairfield, Connecticut