Topical Area: Nutrition Education and Behavioral Science, Obesity
Objectives : Research suggests that nutrition majors tend to have higher rates of eating disordered behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine eating competence between nutrition and other academic majors enrolled in an undergraduate introductory nutrition course.
Methods : Data were collected between 2015-17 via an ongoing college health survey at a medium-sized, northeastern university (18-24 y, n= 1098; 68% female). Eating competence was determined via the Ellyn Satter Eating Competence Model ecSI 2.0 survey completed as part of an online questionnaire. ecSI items were scored based on the Ellyn Satter Eating Competence Model validated scoring method; total scores range from 0-48. Majors were identified as nutrition, allied health, and other academic majors. Proportional differences between majors were evaluated via chi-square analyses and mean differences were evaluated via ANCOVA with gender and self-reported weight loss goal as covariates.
Results : There were no differences between mean ecSI scores between nutrition majors, allied-health majors, or all other academic majors (34.4±1.0 vs. 33.9±0.5 vs. 33.0±0.3, p=0.25). Among all students, males were more eating competent than females (36.0±0.4 vs. 32.0±0.3 P< 0.05).
Conclusions : Our findings do not suggest eating competence differs between nutrition and other academic majors. Further research should examine additional factors that influence eating competence among college students.
Funding Sources :
New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Station and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project 1010738.