Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Tammy Stephenson


As the rates of obesity continue to increase among adolescents and young adults, adopting healthy dietary and lifestyle habits is necessary in order to prevent obesity-related chronic disease later in life. Although several studies have addressed nutrition education and its effect on weight in college students, few studies have assessed percent fat as it relates to a semester-long nutrition course. As such, the effectiveness of a formal introductory nutrition course on lifestyle habits and percent fat of college students was examined. The current study aimed to address the relationship between percent body fat and nutrition education over the course of 8-months. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study compared changes among an intervention group and a comparison group pre-semester, post-semester and at 8-months follow-up. Participants completed a dietary habits survey and body composition was measured between August 2015 and May 2016. Results indicated that nutrition knowledge may have a short-term impact on dietary habits and body fat percentage among college-aged students. Between baseline and 4-months, we found a 1.9% reduction (27.29%-26.77%) in body fat percentage among the experimental group, while there was a 2.5% increase (25.25%-25.89%) in body fat percentage among the control group. Although we could not determine the exact reason, our results suggest that the reduction in body fat percentage may be due to knowledge and exercise. Our findings suggest that nutrition education has the potential to affect body composition among college students.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)