Capitalizing on mobile technology to support healthy eating in ethnic minority college students

J Am Coll Health. 2016;64(2):125-32. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2015.1085055.


Objective: To evaluate the capacity of a mobile technology-based intervention to support healthy eating among ethnic minority female students.

Participants: Forty-three African American and Hispanic female students participated in a 3-week intervention between January and May 2013.

Methods: Participants photographed their meals using their smart phone camera and received motivational text messages 3 times a day. At baseline, postintervention, and 10 weeks after the intervention, participants reported on fruit, vegetable, and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Participants were also weighed at baseline.

Results: Among participants with body mass index (BMI) ≥25, fruit and vegetable consumption increased with time (p < .01). Among participants with BMI <21, consumption of fruit decreased (p < .05), whereas the consumption of vegetables remained stable. No effects were found for sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.

Conclusion: Mobile technology-based interventions could facilitate healthy eating among female ethnic minority college students, particularly those with higher BMI.

Keywords: College; ethnicity; healthy eating; mobile technology; nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • New England
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult