Date of Conferral
Mary Lou Gutierrez
Scarce knowledge exists about the lifestyle of college students from heterogeneous racial/ethnic backgrounds and how race/ethnicity may influence their diet and physical activity behaviors. College students, especially those who are members of minority groups, are at risk for unhealthy lifestyles resulting in negative health outcomes. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the role of racial diversity on dietary and physical activity habits. The study was guided by social cognitive theory, and the research questions examined the relationship between race/ethnicity on diet and physical activity in a multiracial ethnic population. The study research design was a quantitative cross-sectional survey using a 34-item questionnaire on a convenience sample of 307 college students. Statistical analysis consisted of descriptive statistics to characterize the sample and logistic regression was used to examine the odds of race/ethnicity predicting meal consumption and physical activity behaviors as well as parental influence on meal consumption. The results indicated that only some race/ethnic groups (Hispanic/Latino, Caribbean) predicted frequency of breakfast meal consumption but all race/ethnic groups predicted dinner meal consumption. Race/ethnicity did not predict lunch meal consumption. Race/ethnicity did not predict physical activity. Parental influence did not have any of the race/ethnicity groups on their meal consumption. The positive social change implications from this study may help explain situational and sociocultural factors that affect lifestyle in this population to policy creators and health education specialists; these stakeholders, in turn, may create specific intervention programs for each race/ethnic group to increase healthy behaviors.