College course helps students improve eating habitsBy Sandra Cooper • Mar 5th, 2010 • Category: Diet, True Health News
A new strategy for improving the diets of college students may be applicable to a larger population, according to researchers.
Researchers at Stanford University had undergraduate students enroll in a class about societal issues relating to food and agriculture or one of three different classes about health-related issues. At the beginning and end of the study, both groups were asked about their consumption of foods in six food groups including vegetables, fruits, high-fat meat, high-fat dairy, processed foods and sweets.
They found that the students who took the "Food and Society" course had an overall improvement in their healthful eating diet score, while the general health students reported no significant changes in eating habits. The students in this group were also able to increase their consumption of vegetables and decrease their consumption of high-fat dairy foods.
"We believe that this approach may produce larger and more sustained changes in eating behaviors than traditional educational approaches focusing on health as a motivator," said the study’s lead author, Eric Hekler. "The study suggests that interventions may promote greater behavior change when focusing on processes that motivate the behavior rather than on outcomes."
The study’s authors say they plan to investigate how to apply this program to other groups of people at high risk for weight gain and obesity, including community college students, low-income communities, children, teens and parents.