College Students Get a Failing Grade on Their Eating Habits

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New research from Oregon State University finds that most freshmen aren't even eating one serving of fruits or vegetables per day

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If college students were being graded on their eating habits, most would receive a failing grade. The majority don't even come close to the recommended minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Of course, plenty of their parents may fall short as well.

Researchers at Oregon State University surveyed nearly 600 college students, mostly freshmen, about their eating habits and found that most weren't even eating one serving of fruits or vegetables a day. The survey found that male students consumed more calories from fat and ate less healthy foods overall than did female students. Males averaged about five servings of fruits and vegetables a week.

Female students were more likely to read food labels and eat breakfast, but they only averaged four servings of fruits and vegetables a week and consumed less fiber. Female students also skipped fewer meals and ate in college dining halls more often. Both male and female students consumed more than 30 percent of their calories from fat. Not all fat is bad for you, but it's likely students aren't indulging in healthy omega 3s or monounsaturates. Chips and fries and ice cream are more likely to be found in abundance in their diets than salmon or nuts.

"Health is an area being neglected, yet all the available research show that healthy habits and healthy kids can lead to better academic success. We are doing a disservice to our kids by not teaching them these essential life skills," according to Brad Cardinal, a co-author of the study and a professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State.

The study will be published in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Image: REUTERS/Fred Prouser.


This article originally appeared on TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com.

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Beth Fontenot is a registered dietitian and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist. She serves on the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition and writes for TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com.

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