Nutrition Education and Behavioral Sciences
Objectives : The primary objective was to develop a needs assessment questionnaire that assesses perceptions that may serve as barriers to healthy eating behavior, and to assess the differences in perceptions between traditionally underrepresented (US) and represented (RS) students. This study also explored the most commonly used social media platforms used among UC Davis Students.
Methods : The needs assessment was distributed through available listservs using a modified Dillman approach and through the “MyUCDavis” Homepage, a UC Davis marketing channel. Ten $25 Gift Cards were raffled to interested students as an incentive. Likert scale questions were developed for each of the measured perceptions and were then grouped to create composite variables of convenience, finances, cooking skill self-efficacy, interest in improving cooking skill, and cultural background (measured as “healthy options” and “food preferences”). Internal consistency for each composite variable was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha. Mann Whitney U-Tests were used to analyze the differences in the composite variables between US and RS groups.
Results : Most of the composite variables had at least moderate internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.7 - 0.85, while two had low internal consistency. The US group scored higher in the perceived barriers of convenience (p = 0.001) and finances (p < 0.005), demonstrated lower cooking skill self-efficacy (p < 0.005), and preferred more familiar food choices (p < 0.005). There were no differences between groups in the perceptions of healthy options (p < 0.114). The most popular social media platforms included Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Conclusions : US were affected more by the perceived barriers as they scored higher in the convenience, finances, and food preferences composite variables, and had lower cooking skill self-efficacy than RS counterparts. Future studies can examine the effects of addressing the perceived barriers via a targeted social media marketing strategy using Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Funding Sources : Funding and resources were provided by the UCOP Global Food Initiative, the Center for Student Affairs and Assessment, the Student Affairs Marketing and Communications department, the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, as well as the Scherr lab group.