Food choice and factors influencing food choices of young adult exercisers and non-exercisers in Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/js956k11t

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  • This study contributes to a growing body of knowledge about diet and about exercise behaviors of young adults. This information is needed if we are to plan public health campaigns designed to reduce the risk of chronic disease through more healthful eating habits and a more active lifestyle. A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 18-24 year old Oregonians. It included questions about factors influencing food choices, exercise behavior questions, and a food frequency questionnaire. The final sample of 57 exercisers and 70 non-exercisers was examined for differences in opinion about the healthfulness of specific foods, relatedness between opinions and consumption of these foods, and general adequacy of dietary intake. Factor analysis demonstrated a relationship between the constructs "not fattening/fattening" and "good for my health/not good for my health", which we called the "healthfulness" factor and examined further. Opinion about the healthfulness of 20 foods was evaluated. Exercisers were similar to non-exercisers, and in general did not have stronger opinions about the healthfulness of certain foods than the non-exercisers. There were more differences among exercisers stratified by those exercising more frequently, and those exercising less frequently. Consumption of most foods was not related to opinions about the healthfulness of the food for exercisers or nonexercisers. It may be that opinions about the healthfulness of a food, influence a young adult's consumption of that food, but only for foods not considered very tasty. Neither exercisers nor non-exercisers had dietary intakes which compared well with Food Guide Pyramid minimum recommendations, although exercisers did come closer to eating 2 fruits per day than did non-exercisers. For other food groups the trend was for more exercisers to meet the minimum recommendations than non-exercisers, and more males to meet the minimum intakes than females. Overall, consumption of the meat/meat alternate group was closest to recommendations, followed by fruits, grains, dairy, and vegetables. Both groups rated highly the importance of eating nutritious foods, while exercisers felt more confident in their ability to read nutrition labels. Young adults perceive time to be their scarcest resource in matters of food consumption.
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