College Students Poor Food Choices Due to Stress

College Students Poor Food Choices Due To Stress Rebecca Vlha Holy Names University Part I Many college students develop eating disorders or they may develop habits that will make them obese in the future because of their bad habits that they acquire due to the stress that they are put under. Depending on what or how much each college student decides to participate in during their time being a college student. Stress is anything that is causing one uncomfortable emotions.

Some examples of uncomfortable feelings might be anxiety, depression, feeling pressured, procrastination, troubled relationships with peers, not doing well in academics, or not being economically successful. Students that live in the dorms may choose fattening foods at the cafeteria or “treat” themselves to fast food because they are emotionally unstable. Most of these college students also do not think that their new habit is a negative one. The reason why college students eat fattening, high sugar foods could be because of a mental or a biological satisfaction.

This research will give an explanation for why many medicate their emotional states with food. Food choices are often made based on one’s unhappiness, angst, or trauma. College students may feel as though pleasing their mouths will please their hearts and ease their state of stress. Many will endorse preferring the taste of highly salted, high sugar content foods, while others will state that this is the food they grew up eating, and some will say this is what is most affordable and accessible.

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However, as she was experiencing the college and had a lot of American food available she chose fast food and unhealthy foods at the cafe at school to cope with being home sick, and being stressed out about school and soccer. However, she woke up one morning and realized that her belly was much bigger than when she first came to America. She waddled over to a mirror and grabbed her stomach and said, “how come you’re stomach is not this big? We almost do the same things. ” I said, “I knew it was secretly a dream of yours to be ‘thick’ so the vitamins I gave you the other night were for you to get big overnight.

This just relieved the tension and she had gotten her insecurity off of her chest. However, it did not solve her psychological crisis that had triggered negative feelings about her physical appearance. The main reason why she was over eating and eating unhealthy was because she was depressed and missed home – not because she was hungry. Many college students go through the same scenario that my roommate experienced. Some students feel as though abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake will comfort them physically and mentally.

This research will be done on the college students who live in the dorms at Holy Names University. The units of analysis that will be observed are poor food choices and the factors of stress. Some major influences that that affect food choice are biological determinants, economic determinants, physical determinants, social determinants, and psychological determinants. A mode of operation that can be observed is the biological purpose that food serves; to put nutrients into our body. Humans need energy and nutrients in order to survive and will respond to the feelings of hunger or satisfaction of appetite.

The central nervous system is involved in controlling the balance between hunger, appetite stimulation and food intake. Palatability is proportional to the pleasure someone experiences when eating a particular food. This aspect will most likely play a huge part in the decision making process for the food choices that college students make. Palatability is dependent on the sensory properties of the food such as taste, smell, texture and appearance. Sweet and high-fat foods have an undeniable sensory appeal.

It is not surprising then that food is not solely regarded as a source of nourishment but is often consumed for the pleasure value it imparts. Another mode of operation that can be observed is the psychological factors that are in play during the decision making of making proper food choices. Stress and one’s mood can modify behaviors that affect health, such as physical activity, smoking or food choice. The influence of stress on food choice is complex not least because of the various types of stress one can experience.

The effect of stress on food intake depends on the individual, the stressor and the circumstances. In general, some people eat more and some eat less than normal when experiencing stress. Studies also suggest that if work stress is prolonged or frequent, then adverse dietary changes could result, increasing the possibility of weight gain and consequently cardiovascular risk. Other than causing likely psychological insecurities, obesity can bring on a plethora of health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, knee and joint problems, various types of cancer and death. Bellise 2005) This study will be nomothetic; it will be describing the study of food choices and agents of stress within the cohorts of undergraduates that live in the dorms, particularly on the C-floor level of Durocher, on the Holy Names University campus. This research will be done by using deductive reasoning. Sometimes this is called the “top-down” approach because the researcher starts at the top with a very broad spectrum, which would narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that can be tested.

Stress can cause bad eating habits like impulsive eating, overeating, binge eating, or compensatory behavior. The key variables and concepts involved in this study are stress and poor food choices. One should not use food to cope with stress and other negative emotions, because afterwards he or she will feel even worse. Becoming obese not only causes many physical disadvantages, but also can create psychological insecurities that must be dealt with. I will be using the Student Stress Survey (SSS) that measures the major sources of stress among college students.

Also, I will be using a Eating Habit Questionnaire (EHQ) to measure how healthy one’s choices are when they make decisions about food. Some contributing indicators for stress are: anxiety disorders, weight problems, depression, premature aging, heart disease, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, memory loss/brain fog, migraines, PMS, sleep problems, seasonal affective disorders, joint disorders, and sexual dysfunction. The peculiar thing is, that the indicators for having malnutrition are similar.

However, when dealing with bad eating habits, one who isn’t getting enough food or nutrition or one that doesn’t have enough food or nutrition, can also have more serious indicators like: cancer, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, advanced aging, hormonal imbalance, and a decrease of hepatic function. The level of measurement that will be utilized during this research is mainly ordinal. This research will focus on two dimensions, food choice and level of stress. This allows the research to demonstrate how stress affects ones all around health.

During this research, there will be two different types of surveys that will be combined and put into one leading scale measurement. This research will ask HNU students, qualitative questions that are open-ended, sampling questions or scenarios that make individuals contemplate about their food decisions and how it can be used to medicate depression. This is a collective case study that introduces a typology that is useful when selecting participants in multiple-case studies. This typology centers on a parallel sampling design.

A parallel sampling design represents a body of sampling strategies that facilitate credible comparisons of two cases. Unfortunately, there can be a few open ended scenarios where someone could have just been eating badly for that week or some food is more convenient during a time period than another. Another thing to take into account is that perhaps some deal with stress differently than others. Part II This research will take place through the Holy Names University dorm rooms and I will be going door to door, starting with the people that live on my floor, then to the people that live above and below me in Durocher.

These students are all undergraduates that are not freshmen. I will be asking as many people as I can later that night because that is when most of my peers are available to sit down and take a survey. The reliability for this experiment should be accurate because this is a replicated study of a survey and a questionnaire that have already been tested and have ways of measuring how sever ones stress is and what food choices one makes. This study has the ability to perform the exact same way every time it is being tested and it will be interpreted under the same conditions.

The validity that will be focused on during this experiment is concurrent validity which measures the test against a set benchmark; higher correlated indicators prove that my test has strong criterion validity. Therefore, those who rank higher in stress levels and also rank high in eating unhealthy prove my theory true. The Survey: EHQ: Instructions: * This is not a test. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. * Read or listen to each question carefully and think about it before you choose an answer. * To choose an answer, put an X next to your choice. Choose only one answer for each question unless you are asked to choose more than one. * If you want to change an answer, erase your old answer and mark your new choice. Be sure to erase completely. * Do not skip any questions. What Gender do you fall under? ___Male ___Female Check the food in each line that you think is better for your health. 1. ___cookies OR ___an apple 3. ___chocolate cake OR ___an orange 4. ___ice cream OR ___fresh fruit cup 5. ___whole milk OR ___low-fat or skim milk 6. ___frozen yogurt OR ___ice cream 7. ___french toast OR ___whole wheat toast . ___grilled chicken sandwich OR ___hamburger 9. ___baked potato OR ___french fries 10. ___fruit juice OR ___soda 11. ___donut OR ___bread 12. ___cold or ready-to-eat cereal OR ___eggs and bacon 13. ___green salad OR ___popcorn 14. ___raisins OR ___candy bar 15. ___pasta OR ___pizza Check the box under YES or NO to answer the following questions if you have experienced this at Holy Names University based off of the availability to the Cafeteria and a grocery store near by: In the last 2 weeks, did you ever. . . | YES| NO| 16. Eaten fruits for bereakfast? | | | 17.

Eat fruits or vegetables that you had never tried before? | | | 18. Eat a new grain, such as brown rice, bulgur or pita bread, that you had never tried before? | | | 19. Eat fresh fruit instead of a candy bar? | | | 20. Eat eggs instead of a bagel for breakfast? | | | 21. Eat six or more servings of grains, such as cereals, rice, spaghetti, and other noodles each day? | | | 22. Use Nutrition Facts labels to choose low-fat foods? | | | Mark the number below that best describes your opinion of the Holy Names University cafeteria program. The numbers mean: 1 – I strongly agree – I agree 3 – I disagree 4 – I strongly disagree 23. It offers food that I like. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 24. It offers food that is good for my health. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 25. It offers new foods to try. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 26. It offers foods that taste good. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 27. It offers a variety of foods that I will eat. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 28. It offers the full spectrum of the food pyramid every meal| 1| 2| 3| 4| 29. The students amongst HNU enjoy eating at the cafeteria| 1| 2| 3| 4| Please use the number ratings below to show how much you agree with the following statements: 1 – I strongly agree – I agree 3 – I disagree 4 – I strongly disagree 30. Foods such as ice cream, chips and cookies are okay to eat, but not all the time. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 31. Snacks such as fruit, pretzels, lowfat yogurt or low-fat cookies can be an important part of a healthy diet. | 1| 2| 3| 4| 32. It’s okay to eat anything you want, whenever you want. | 1| 2| 3| 4| This research is determined by a collective point system set up to determine how healthy ones eating habits/food choice is. The dominant answers for the two option question (A represents the first option and B epresents the second option) will be posted below with the numbers it correlates with. Numbers one through fifteen: 1-5)B 6)A 7)B 8-10)A 11-12)B 13-15)A. For the yes/no questions, if one choses yes then they score two points, and if they say no then they get one point. For the one-four scale part of the questionnaire, either intensity levels of feeling 1 and 2 score two or one points or 3 and 4 score two or one points. If you agreed with questions: 25, 27, 31; and if you disagreed with questions: 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32 you received one point you will receive two points.

SSS: To determine your stress score, add up the number of points corresponding to the events you have experienced in the past 12 months. 1. Death of a close family member (100 points) 2. Death of a close friend (73 points) 3. Divorce between parents (65 points) 4. Jail term (63 points) 5. Major personal injury or illness (63 points) 6. Marriage (58 points) 7. Firing from job (50 points) 8. Failing a class (47 points) 9. Change in health of a family member (45 points) 10. Pregnancy (45 points) 11. Sex problems (44 points) 12. Serious argument with close friend (40 points) 3. Change in financial status (39 points) 14. Change in scholastic major (39 points) 15. Trouble with parents (39 points) 16. New girl-or boyfriend (37 points) 17. Increase in workload at school (37 points) 18. Outstanding personal achievement (36 points) 19. First quarter/semester in college (36 points) 20. Change in living conditions (31 points) 21. Serious argument with an instructor (30 points) 22. Lower grades than expected (29 points) 23. Change in sleeping habits (29 points) 24. Change in social activities (29 Points) 25. Change in eating habits (28 points) 26.

Chronic car trouble (26 points) 27. Change in the, number of family get-togethers (26 points) 28. Too many missed classes (25 point) 29. Change of college (24 points) 30. Dropping of more than one class (23 points) 31. Minor traffic violations (20 points) 32. Roommate problems (15 points) _________Total Points Here’s how to interpret your score. If your score is 500-645, you are at high risk for developing bad eating habits because you are more stressed. If your score is 200-350, you have a 50-50 chance of experiencing a serious effect on your health based on your level of stress.

If your score is below 150, you have a less serious chance of your stress level interfering with your food decision making. Bibliography Carol Olander. Eating habit questionnaire. 1999. 3/13/13 ;http://www. nncc. org/evaluation/nutrition5. html;. Dr. France Bellisle. The Determinants of Food Choice . 08/03/2013. 3/09/12 ;http://www. eufic. org/article/en/expid/review-food-choice/;. Grilo, C. M. , ; White, M. A. (2011). A controlled evaluation of the distress criterion for binge eating disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(4), 509-514. doi: 10. 1037/a0024259 Grossbard, J.

R. , Atkins, D. C. , Geisner, I. M. , ; Larimer, M. E. (2012). Does depressed mood moderate the influence of drive for thinness and muscularity on eating disorder symptoms among college men? Psychology of Men ; Mascularity, doi: 10. 1037/a0028913 Mackinnon, S. P. , Sherry, S. B. , Graham, A. R. , Stewart, S. H. , Sherry, D. L. , Allen, S. L. McGrath, D. S. (2011). Reformulating and undergraduate women: A short term, three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(4) , 630-646. doi: 10. 1037/a0025068 Morehead State University . Stress Survey. 2011. 3/12/13 ;http://www2. oreheadstate. edu/leo/index. aspx? id=6299;. Stice, E. , Rohde, P. , Shaw, H. , ; Marti, C. N. (2012). Efficacy trail of a selective precention program targeting both eating disorder symptoms and unhealthy weight gain among female college students. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(1), 164-170. doi: 10. 1037/a0026484 Tylka, T. L. , ; Kroon, V. D. (2013). The intuitive eating Scale-2: Item refinement and psychometric evaluation with college women and men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60(1), 137-153. doi: 10. 1037/a0030893;10. 1037/a0030893. supp (Supplemental)

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