College students' perception of dietary terms could help nutrition education

March 08, 2017

Philadelphia, PA, March 8, 2017 - College students represent an important group for nutrition educators, since the transition into adulthood brings increased independence and decision making, which can affect diet and health-related behaviors. Promoting nutritional health among young adults is important. Poor decisions regarding eating may lead to decreased diet quality and increased weight, which may result in long-term health issues. Therefore, researchers from the University of Hawaii and Brigham Young University set out to determine college students' perception of the terms real meal, meal, and snack and how those perceptions might enable more effective nutrition education. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Students from two western U.S. universities in two states were recruited for the study. A pilot study, consisting of 20 participants, was conducted first and helped the researchers hone survey questions to ensure clarity. Then a survey was administered to 628 undergraduate students recruited via email, featuring 11 items measuring students' familiarity with the term real meal, perceived differences among the terms real meal, meal, and snack, and demographic characteristics.

Students perceived a difference between real meal and meal, with real meal being described as nutritious or healthy and reflecting recommendations such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Meals, on the other hand, were described as anything to eat and food for survival. Snacks were regarded as small portions of food eaten to hold off hunger and commonly described as foods eaten between meals.

"Students' perceptions relating to the words real meal, meal, and snack might allow nutrition educators another way to frame and promote healthful eating," said Jinan Banna, PhD, RDN, lead author of the study. "By using the phrase real meal, educators may be able to promote eating in line with dietary guidelines." In education campaigns or clinical counseling, the term real meal could be an effective tool to encourage healthy eating habits. Likewise, the investigators suggest media-based intrapersonal approaches, such as email and text messaging, as useful ways to communicate. Because these media use short messages, using the term real meal could be a concise way to promote healthy activities.

More research is necessary to understand how differences in perception between the terms real meal and meal translate to food choice. However, the survey used in this study could be used again to understand perceptions among different groups, beyond college students, of varying life stages and socioeconomic status.
-end-


Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Perception Articles from Brightsurf:

Intelligent cameras enhance human perception
A team of FAU researchers has developed an intelligent camera that achieves not only high spatial and temporal but also spectral resolution.

New perception metric balances reaction time, accuracy
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new metric for evaluating how well self-driving cars respond to changing road conditions and traffic, making it possible for the first time to compare perception systems for both accuracy and reaction time.

Sweet-taste perception changes as children develop
While adults prefer levels of sweetness similar to typical soft drinks, children and adolescents are less sensitive to the taste and prefer concentrations that are 50% sweeter, according to research by professor of food science and human nutrition M.

Optogenetic odors reveal the logic of olfactory perception
Using optogenetic control, researchers have created an electrical signature that is perceived as an odor in the brain's smell-processing center, the olfactory bulb, even though the odor does not exist.

Vision loss influences perception of sound
People with severe vision loss can less accurately judge the distance of nearby sounds, potentially putting them more at risk of injury.

Why visual perception is a decision process
A popular theory in neuroscience called predictive coding proposes that the brain produces all the time expectations that are compared with incoming information.

How the heart affects our perception
When we encounter a dangerous situation, signals from the brain make sure that the heart beats faster.

Changing how we think about warm perception
Perceiving warmth requires input from a surprising source: cool receptors.

Rhythmic perception in humans has strong evolutionary roots
So suggests a study that compares the behaviour of rodents and humans with respect to the detection rhythm, published in Journal of Comparative Psychology by Alexandre Celma-Miralles and Juan Manuel Toro, researchers at the Center for Brain and Cognition.

Approaching the perception of touch in the brain
More than ten percent of the cerebral cortex are involved in processing information about our sense of touch -- a larger area than previously thought.

Read More: Perception News and Perception Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.