Study the Effect of an Innovative Educational Program Promoting Healthy Food Habits on Eating Disorders, Mediterranean Diet Adherence and Body Composition in University Students

Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Mar 28;11(7):965. doi: 10.3390/healthcare11070965.


The university stage is a good time to promote healthy eating strategies. The sociological and cultural changes experienced by students lead them to skip meals, increase their intake of fast food and energy-dense foods, decreasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD). Professionals related to food such as nutritionists and dietitians are also considered a population at risk of developing eating disorders due to the extensive knowledge they possess, which can be used for both good and bad practice. The objective was to analyze the impact of a 4-month educational program promoting the Mediterranean diet on risky eating behaviors, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, and body composition in nutrition and dietetics students, studying the differences according to the group investigated (control group and educated group). The context of the research was 196 students (49 males and 147 females) from two consecutive years. The control group did not receive any type of intervention, while with the control group (educated) an educational program was carried out. Results showed that women with greater control over energy intake, carbohydrates, and sugar had a lower percentage of fat mass, while in men, the relationship was established with weight. Regarding adherence to the Mediterranean diet, at post, it is adequate in both men (8.25 ± 2.87) and women (7.90 ± 2.89), with no significant differences between the intervention groups.

Keywords: adherence to the Mediterranean diet; body composition; eating disorders; fat mass; nutrition degree students.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by a grant from the University Teaching Research Networks Program of the Institute of Education Sciences of the University of Alicante (2021-22). Ref: 5628.