Event Title

Food Consumption and Accessibility: Creating Opportunities for Student Voices to be Heard

Mentor 1

Deborah Augsburger

Location

Union 280

Start Date

24-4-2015 1:40 PM

Description

There is growing concern in the U.S. about obesity, diabetes, and other health outcomes associated with unhealthy patterns of food consumption. One strategy for addressing the need for healthier eating is to improve K-12 students’ diets through changes to the food environment that build familiarity and appetite for healthier foods, and by teaching food literacy, cooking skills, and nutrition awareness. College students, however, have been largely neglected in these approaches, even though the college years provide fertile ground for students’ acquisition of nutrition knowledge, healthier food habits, and cooking skills. In order to inform attempts to improve college students’ eating habits, we need to understand students’ perspectives and choices. Our research project focuses on UWS college students’ perceptions of obstacles they face in obtaining nutritious and desired foods. We administered surveys to students living in the dorms, asking about where they ate and how often (including the cafeteria), demographic information, their definition of a healthy lifestyle, and the changes they would like to see in their food environment. Our findings support that students do desire healthier options in the cafeteria, such as more fruits and vegetables and more variety. Many students express frustration about not having a say in what foods are available. International students in particular tend to be quite critical of cafeteria and local offerings. On the other hand, more accessible cooking facilities in two newly-renovated dorms provide an opportunity for students to share food and cooking knowledge. Our findings make evident the necessity for students to have a voice, one that allows them to freely participate in an open dialogue with the University, the cafeteria, and the surrounding community. This project, which began as an inquiry into students’ concerns is itself part of a larger effort to empower students and allow their voices to be heard.

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Apr 24th, 1:40 PM

Food Consumption and Accessibility: Creating Opportunities for Student Voices to be Heard

Union 280

There is growing concern in the U.S. about obesity, diabetes, and other health outcomes associated with unhealthy patterns of food consumption. One strategy for addressing the need for healthier eating is to improve K-12 students’ diets through changes to the food environment that build familiarity and appetite for healthier foods, and by teaching food literacy, cooking skills, and nutrition awareness. College students, however, have been largely neglected in these approaches, even though the college years provide fertile ground for students’ acquisition of nutrition knowledge, healthier food habits, and cooking skills. In order to inform attempts to improve college students’ eating habits, we need to understand students’ perspectives and choices. Our research project focuses on UWS college students’ perceptions of obstacles they face in obtaining nutritious and desired foods. We administered surveys to students living in the dorms, asking about where they ate and how often (including the cafeteria), demographic information, their definition of a healthy lifestyle, and the changes they would like to see in their food environment. Our findings support that students do desire healthier options in the cafeteria, such as more fruits and vegetables and more variety. Many students express frustration about not having a say in what foods are available. International students in particular tend to be quite critical of cafeteria and local offerings. On the other hand, more accessible cooking facilities in two newly-renovated dorms provide an opportunity for students to share food and cooking knowledge. Our findings make evident the necessity for students to have a voice, one that allows them to freely participate in an open dialogue with the University, the cafeteria, and the surrounding community. This project, which began as an inquiry into students’ concerns is itself part of a larger effort to empower students and allow their voices to be heard.