Implementation of a food scholarship program improves nutrient intake and dietary quality of college students

J Am Coll Health. 2020 Dec 15;1-8. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1848847. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

To determine the impact of a new food scholarship program on nutrient intake and dietary quality. Participants: College students (n = 49), female (78%), single (76%), average age 28 years, and white (49%). Methods: Fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat products and nonperishable foods were distributed twice a month. A one-group pretest post-test intervention compared baseline and 10 weeks data. Food security was measured and three-day food records assessed nutrient intake, Health Eating Index (HEI)-2015 (total and component) scores, and food group servings. Paired t-test at baseline and 10 weeks were performed (SPSS v25) (p < 0.05). Results: Prevalence of food insecurity did not change (baseline 53%, 10 weeks 47%). Protein, (p = 0.001), niacin (p = 0.002), magnesium (p = 0.034), phosphorous (p = 0.039), potassium (p = 0.019), and vegetable servings (p = 0.034) intake increased. Total HEI-2015 scores remained unchanged but HEI-2015 vegetable scores increased (p = 0.023). Conclusion: Increased intake of some nutrients and vegetable servings were achieved with the food scholarship program.

Keywords: Food security; college students; food scholarship program; healthy eating index (HEI).