Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Kelly Way

Committee Member

Jennifer Becnel

Second Committee Member

Robert Powell


college students;freshman fifteen;weight gain


This study was designed to examine the poor (non-nutritional) food choices that college freshman make when living on-campus and eating at on-campus dining facilities. These poor choices lead to excessive weight gain, eating disorders, declining health and wellness, and mental health issues (i.e. depression, anxiety, lack of self-confidence). These side effects can lead to a less than desirable 1st year college experience and lack of academic success. Based on these concerns, different investigations have been performed to determine the causes of this phenomena. Given adolescent weight gain is highly linked to being overweight and obesity in adults, a better understanding of university student weight gain is crucial if we are to combat the rising adult obesity. This study found that selection and amount of students’ food consumption are valuable for scheduling on-campus dining/Greek house menus and future plans for freshmen’ consumption patterns. It is important for college students to eat a healthy diet as it improves energy, memory and focus. Additionally, students who eat a healthy diet are less likely to contract illnesses as a nutrient-rick diet that is low in processed foods, and sugars while high in vegetable intake assists in creating a robust immune system. Furthermore, there is significant research that shows a correlation between dietary habits and anxiety and depression. Universities cannot control their students’ sleep patterns or physical activity habits, but they can direct students and assist them with healthy eating patterns by providing leadership, education, and more health conscious on-campus dining menus and options. This will assist students in making choices that sway them from choosing cheap, unhealthy foods by providing quality, convenient and healthy options.