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Eating Behaviors and Body Image Perception among College Students

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Objective : In this study, we assessed college students' eating behaviors and determined the association between their eating behaviors and body image perception (feelings about body, shape, and weight). Methods: We surveyed college students (N = 184) enrolled at least part- time and actively living on campus during the 2019-2020 academic year. We used 4 validated surveys (EDE-Q, NEMS-P, SATAQ-3 and SATAQ-4) to collect all data. Two trained facilitators aided students in completing the surveys in the campus's nutrition lab. We used weighted linear regression to assess the association between eating behaviors (frequency of fruit, vegetables, candy, and chips consumption available in dorm rooms, and meal consumption frequency at restaurants) (independent variables) and body image perception (dependent variable). We also calculated odds ratios. Results : We found statistically significant associations between students reducing their consumption of available fruit, vegetables, candy, soda, and chips in their dorm rooms to control weight and shape, choosing meals more frequently at fast-food versus sit-down restaurants, and unhappiness with weight and shape. Conclusion : Our results may assist college campus personnel in providing students with the necessary skills to develop better eating habits and improved body image. Students with a positive body image and a healthy relationship with food are more likely to have better mental and physical health.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, United States 2: South Dakota State University, Brooking, SD, United States

Publication date: September 1, 2022

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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