Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing Perceptions that Serve as Barriers to Healthy Eating in Underrepresented and Represented Students at the University of California, Davis
by Pang, Natalie Faith, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2020, 111; 27665698
Abstract (Summary)

Objectives: To develop and distribute a needs assessment questionnaire to determine perspectives that may serve as barriers to healthy eating, and to assess these differences between traditionally represented and underrepresented students in higher education. To assess social media use, interest in cooking videos, and interest in cooking skill improvement in order to explore the potential to reach in promote behavior change in university students.

Methods: A needs assessment questionnaire consisting of Likert scale items was developed to assess the perceptions which may serve as barriers to healthy eating. The Likert Scale items, were combined into the composite variables: convenience, finances, cooking skill self-efficacy, food preferences, growing up with health options, meal preparation practices, interest in cooking skill improvement, and interest in cooking videos. Distribution occurred through available email lists using a modified Dillman Method, and was advertised through the “MyUCDavis Homepage,” a UC Davis Marketing Channel. Cronbach’s alpha was used to assess internal consistency of the composite variables. Mann-Whitney U-tests were conducted to determine the differences in the perspectives between traditionally represented and underrepresented students. Chi-Square analyses and Fisher’s Exact tests with post-hoc analyses were used to assess social media use.

Results: Most composite variables displayed moderate internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.71 - 0.85), while three variables displayed low internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.5 – 0.68). Underrepresented students scored higher in convenience (p = 0.001) and finances (p < 0.005), had lower cooking skill self-efficacy (p < 0.005), more preference for familiar foods (p < 0.005), a higher interest in improving cooking skills (p < 0.005), a higher interest in cooking videos (p < 0.001), and less meal preparation practices (p < 0.01) compared to represented students. There were no differences between groups in the perceptions of healthy options (p < 0.114). Social media use differed by class standing (p < 0.001). Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat were the most utilized platforms; however, Instagram was used most by underrepresented students (p = 0.02) while Facebook (p = 0.03) and Snapchat (p = 0.04) were used more by represented students.

Conclusion: Underrepresented Students experience more perceived barriers that contribute as barriers to healthy eating; however, these students also had more interest in improving cooking skills and watching cooking videos. This, in combination with high social media use, is promising as there is potential for social media to address these barriers. Future studies may further investigate why differences are present between represented and underrepresented students and the effectiveness of using a targeted social media intervention to address the perceptions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scherr, Rachel E
Commitee: Keen, Carl L, Steinberg, Francene M
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Nutritional Biology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/11(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Nutrition
Keywords: Barriers to healthy eating, Food literacy, Food security, Nutrition, Social media, University students
Publication Number: 27665698
ISBN: 9798645452995
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