Nutrient intake and sources of fat in the diets of college students Public Deposited

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  • Dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume no more than 30 percent of energy intake from fat. The most recent national survey reported that U.S. women consume about 36 percent of energy from fat. Very little is presently known about the fat intake, or food sources of fat in the diets of college students, a subgroup of the population, with newly established eating habits. This study examined nutrient intake and sources of fat in the diets of 233 women and 60 men enrolled in six introductory nutrition courses from September 1987 through June 1988. Female students were further subdivided to determine whether the independent variables, living situation (on campus or off campus), or fat content of diet (fat intake less than or equal to 30 percent of energy consumed, or fat intake more than 30 percent of energy consumed) had an effect on nutrient intake or food sources of fat. Each student in the sample kept a two-day food intake record, and filled out a form reporting their sex, age, major, and living arrangement. Dietary intakes were analyzed for macronutrients, types of fat, cholesterol, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and zinc. Mean intakes, nutrient density, proportion of students who did not meet 75 percent of the RDA, and energy distribution as percent intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrate were compared between sample subgroups. Foods were categorized into 27 food groups. Groupings, adapted from Popkin et. al. (15), were based on the Four Food Groups, which were further subdivided by fat content. Per capita consumption of each food group, proportion of users of each food category, and per user consumption of foods in each category were compared between sample subgroups. T-tests were used to compare mean nutrient and food group intakes, and chi-square analysis was used to compare proportion of individuals who met 75 percent of the RDA, and proportion of individuals that consumed foods from each food group. The college women in this sample exceeded dietary guidelines for fat consumption. They did, however, have a lower intake of fat than a national sample of women 19 to 34 years, living in the western U.S. in 1986, and a correspondingly lower intake of cholesterol. A large proportion of the college women consumed less than 75 percent of the RDA for vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and zinc. Meat is a major source for all of these nutrients except calcium. College women consumed less zinc than the national sample of women, and had a lower intake of meat. Women with a low fat intake, also, had a lower intake of zinc, and consumed less meat. The college men did not have a proportionately greater intake of fat than college women, although they did have a greater intake of cholesterol due to the greater consumption of foods of animal origin.
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