Dairy Intake and Related Self-Regulation Improved in College Students Using Online Nutrition Education

Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Impact Factor: 2.44). 10/2012; 112(12). DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Dairy intake by college students is markedly lower than recommendations. Interventions to improve dairy intake based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) have potential to successfully change behavior by improving mediators that influence dietary choices. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to use SCT to improve social support, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, self-regulation, and behavior related to dairy intake in college students. DESIGN: We conducted a randomized nutrition education intervention. PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Participants included 211 college students (mean age 20.2±0.1 years; 63% women and 37% men) recruited from a university campus. Participants in the intervention group (n=107) and comparison group (n=104) received an 8-week dairy intake or stress management intervention, respectively, via electronic mail. Data collection included dairy intake from 7-day food records and SCT variables from questionnaires administered during January 2008 and April 2008. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in dairy intake and SCT variables (ie, social support, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and self-regulation). STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Multivariate analysis of covariance, with age and sex as covariates (P<0.05). RESULTS: Ninety-one percent of participants (n=97 intervention, n=94 comparison) provided data; complete data were analyzed for 85% of participants (n=90 intervention, n=89 comparison). Participants in the intervention group reported higher intake of total dairy foods (P=0.012) and improved use of self-regulation strategies for consuming three servings per day of total dairy (P=0.000) and low-fat dairy foods (P=0.002) following the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Nutrition education via electronic mail based on an SCT model improved total dairy intake and self-regulation. Participants reported increased dairy intake and better use of self-regulation strategies. Future interventions should focus on benefits of consuming low-fat vs higher-fat dairy foods.

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