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ERIC Number: EJ1179841
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2333-4851
Effectiveness of a Required Health-Related Fitness Course on Dietary Behaviors among Community College Students
Evans, Melissa S.; Massey-Stokes, Marilyn; Denson, Kathleen
Journal of Health Education Teaching, v9 n1 p1-13 2018
Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to: (a) evaluate the effectiveness of a required Health-Related Fitness (HRF) course in changing dietary behaviors among community college (CC) students, and (b) explore student perceptions about the effectiveness of HRF curriculum activities in changing behaviors. Methods: Pre- and post-semester data were gathered from 76 CC students (aged 18-34) enrolled in four HRF courses on a CC campus in Texas. Pre- and post-survey questions included demographic and dietary behavior questions from the College Student Health Survey. Descriptive statistics were used for demographic data, while repeated measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) analyses were used to analyze dietary behaviors. Dietary behaviors were measured by fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption, meal patterns (breakfast, fast food, restaurant eating), and sugar sweetened beverage intake (soda, diet soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, coffee drinks, and other sweetened beverages). Frequency statistics were conducted on themes emerging from open-ended questions (post-survey). Results: No significant changes were found in FV consumption. There were meaningful changes in dietary patterns, including significant increases in breakfast eating, significant decreases in sports drink consumption, and decreases in other sugar-sweetened beverage categories. Most students (96.1%) reported that the HRF course was beneficial. Participants' curriculum recommendations included additional instructional time regarding selection and preparation of healthier foods. Sustainability suggestions included tracking, motivation, support, and continuing education. Conclusions: Significant changes among meal patterns and sugar-sweetened beverages represent positive shifts, yet additional instructional time and course activities may be warranted to increase FV consumption. The HRF course appears to be a valuable intervention for teaching healthy lifestyle behaviors to the young adult population. Recommendations: Additional research is needed to compare different age groups, gender and ethnic differences, and four-year vs. CC students. Longitudinal studies can be helpful in determining long-term influences of HRF courses on students' health behaviors. Focus groups can also be implemented to capture additional information regarding students' perceptions about the HRF course and modifications to enhance learning and promote lasting healthy behavior change. Additionally, experiential learning activities can be integrated to enhance retention of learning and develop students' self-efficacy for adopting healthy dietary behaviors.
Journal of Health Education Teaching. 9563 Wedge Way, Delmar, MD 21875. Tel: 443-880-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A