Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Kendra Kattelmann


Background: Few studies have examined the relationship between cooking and wellness behaviors in college students.
Objective: Determine the association between cooking, wellness behaviors, fruit and vegetable (FV) intake and body mass index (BMI) in college students.
Design and Participants: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using baseline data a multi-state, Community-Based Participatory Research project aimed at preventing weight gain in first-year college students. Physical activity (PA), cooking (type, frequency and confidence), intention for meal planning (MP), mealtime behaviors, and cups of FV, were measured using validated survey tools. BMI was calculated from measured height and weight. Study participants were first-year students (n=1,108) considered at-risk for weight gain from eight universities completed baseline assessments.
Statistical Analysis: Multiple linear regression assessed the ability of lifestyle behaviors to predict FV intake and BMI after controlling for sex; significance was p≤0.05. Stata 13.1 was used for data analyses.
Results: Highly active individuals reported significantly greater FV intake (2.7±.1) than moderately active (2.1±.1, p=.000) or inactive (1.7±.3, p=.000). FV intake was greater in those reporting meal preparation 4-7 times weekly (3.0±.2) compared to 1-3 (2.4±.1, p=.018) or zero (2.3±.1, p=.002). Cooking mostly convenience and ready-made meals was associated with significantly lower FV intake (2.1±.1) compared to cooking from basic ingredients (2.6±.1, p=.000) or not cooking (2.4±.1, p=.013). Intention for MP and mealtime behaviors were positively associated with FV intake (p=.000 and p=.000, respectively). Preparing meals from basic ingredients was associated with a lower BMI (23.8±.3) than consuming mostly convenience and ready-made meals (24.6±.3, p=.035) or not cooking (24.6±.2, p=.032). Positive mealtime behaviors were inversely related to BMI (p=.009).
Conclusions: FV intake and BMI are associated with PA, cooking, and dietary behaviors supporting previous research that healthy behaviors cluster together. Interventions aimed at improving dietary intake or weight status in college students could benefit from incorporating PA, cooking, and MP components.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College students -- Nutrition.
Health behavior.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-55)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2017 Andrea Jean Hanson

Included in

Nutrition Commons