A Web-based, combined assessment and personalized educational module aimed at increasing the dietary fiber intake among college students
Consuming adequate amounts of dietary fiber has been associated with a decreased risk of developing several chronic diseases or conditions. However, among Americans of all ages, dietary fiber intake tends to be inadequate. Currently few nutrition interventions are aimed at college students. The purpose of this research study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a personalized educational module aimed at increasing dietary fiber intake among college students. Invitations to participate were sent out via e-mail to 10,000 randomly selected undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Delaware. The baseline survey, 1-month, and 4-month follow up were completed by 1,244, 917, and 763 participants, respectively. The treatment group was asked to complete a Web-based abbreviated food frequency questionnaire (AFFQ) and educational module, which included goal setting, at baseline. At the 1-month follow up, members of this group received feedback on their dietary fiber intake. At the 4-month follow up, they were asked to complete only the AFFQ. The control group completed only the AFFQ at all 3 sessions. Compared to baseline measurements and compared to the control group, the treatment group significantly increased the intake of total dietary fiber, whole grains and legumes. Fruit and vegetable intake were not significantly affected. Only changes in fruit intake were significantly correlated with the difference between the goal and actual baseline fruit intake. On-campus meal plan participants exhibited greater intakes of total dietary fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes than non-participants. This intervention appears to have been effective at increasing the total dietary fiber intake among college students.