Adequate nutritional and physical activity habits contribute to healthy living practices. According to the Prudent Healthy Diet recommendations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), individuals should strive to balance food consumption with physical activity, eat a nutritionally adequate diet consisting of a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods, moderate fat intake, consume fruits and vegetables daily, reduce sugar intake, prepare food with less salt and sodium, maintain moderate protein intake, consume adequate calcium and iron, practice food safety, avoid intake of additives or dietary supplements, and enjoy food. The purpose of this project was to assess the nutritional intakes of college-age students at Cornell College and compare to established nutritional guidelines set forth by the USDA. Seventeen students (10 males, 7 females, 19 ± 0.2 yrs) were recruited from KIN 101 Lifetime Physical Fitness and Activities to participate in this project. Each participant completed nutritional and physical activity analyses (www.mypyramid.gov) to assess caloric intake, recommended caloric intake, energy balance, and nutrient intakes, including: total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, protein, sodium, total carbohydrate, fiber, and selected vitamins and minerals. In addition, the number of servings per food group (grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, meat and beans) each participant consumed per day was assessed and compared to age-, sex-, and activity level-specific recommendations. Overall, males and females exhibited significant differences in nutrient consumption (e.g., caloric intake, sodium, protein). Compared to USDA dietary recommendations, only 25% of participants consumed more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day while 75% consumed less than two servings per day of high-fat foods. In summary the results of this project indicate that college students may experience nutritional deficiencies (vitamins, minerals, fiber) or dietary excesses (caloric intake, saturated fat, sodium) that may be detrimental to long-term health and well-being.
Charlotte Milas, ’10 Arlington Heights, IL
Major: Kinesiology – Exercise Science Concentration
Sponsor: Jennifer Fagenbaum