Assistant Professor New Mexico State University LAS CRUCES, New Mexico, United States
Disclosure: I do not have any relevant financial / non-financial relationships with any proprietary interests.
Participants should be aware of the following financial/non-financial relationships:
Shadai Martin, PhD RDN: I do not have any relevant financial / non-financial relationships with any proprietary interests.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between body image satisfaction/dissatisfaction among college students and meal consumption at restaurants.
Methods: Four surveys were used to collect all data: NEMS-P, SATAQ-3, SATAQ-4 and the EDE-A. NEMS-P was used to assess the food and nutrition environment, SATAQ-3 was used to assess societal influences on body image, SATAQ-4 was used to assess the internalization of appearance ideals and the EDE-A survey was used to measure eating disorder psychopathology. Participants had to be enrolled as a student during the 2019-2020 academic year on the college campus where this study occurred to participate. Pearson and Spearman correlation were used to assess association between restaurant meal consumption and body image. Chi-square test was used to analyze categorial variables (n=185).
Results: There was a significant association between students who were unhappy with their weight consuming meals more frequently at fast-food restaurants compared to sit down restaurants (p < 0.001); there was also a significant association between students who were unhappy with their weight choosing to eat at a combination of restaurants (fast-food, food courts, cafeteria’s etc.) more frequently than sit-down restaurants (p < 0.05). A significant association was also noted between students who were unhappy with their shape choosing to eat more frequently at fast-food restaurants compared to sit-down restaurants (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: A higher mix of fast-food and fast casual restaurants on the college campus may contribute to an obesogenic environment, while the availability of sit-down restaurants may contribute to a more healthful eating environment. Creating a supportive nutrition environment on college campuses by increasing the availability of healthy food choices and providing resources that can assist students with developing a healthy relationship with food and their bodies is important for overall health, well- being and academic success.