UBC Undergraduate Research

Freshman 15 : It’s Not Your Fault Martin, Andrew; Loh, Evan; Bae, Joseph; Ramchandani, Sirinthorn; Gadey, Sunny Apr 8, 2016

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 UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student ReportAndrew Martin, Evan Loh, Joseph Bae, Sirinthorn Ramchandani, Sunny GadeyFreshman 15: It’s Not Your FaultPSYC 321April 08, 201614502114University of British Columbia Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or a SEEDS team representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 Executive Summary Previous studies show that “… nearly one in four freshmen gain at least 5% of their body weight, an average of about 10 pounds, during their first semester” (Freshman 15). Most previous studies have looked at how much weight gain actually occurs between men and women. This study is aimed at tackling the reasons for unhealthy eating behaviors in first year students at The University of British Columbia. The study looked at how varying factors between first year residence areas at UBC were associated with barriers to healthy eating. 150 questionnaires were administered to first year residents’ living in Totem Park, Place Vanier, and Walter Gage. Barriers of time, money, and perceived control over healthy eating behaviors were the main focus. We used ANOVA and 2-sample t-test to conduct the statistical analyses. The data suggests that residents from Place Vanier and Totem Park felt the barrier of time less than residents in Walter Gage. Students with a meal plan felt, on average, more deterred from healthy options due to financial pressures and unappealing healthy options provided by the dining hall. Finally students residing in Walter Gage felt more perceived control of healthy eating choices than Place Vanier and Totem Park residents.   Detailed Report:  Group name: Carb Conscious Student names: Evan Loh, Andrew Martin, and Sirinthorn (Shirin) Ramchandani, Joseph Bae, Sunny Gadey  Project title: Freshman 15: It’s Not Your Fault   Research question and hypothesis:  The research question for this study is: how are varying factors between first year residence areas at UBC associated with barriers to healthy eating? In order to determine the different factors that influence eating behaviors, three different hypotheses were formed in order to target each possible barrier (time, money and perceived control of healthy eating). The hypotheses are as follows:  Hypothesis #1: Residents from Place Vanier and Totem Park will feel the barrier of time (associated with meal preparation and cleanup) less than residents in Walter Gage. Hypothesis #2: Students with a meal plan will feel more deterred from healthy options due to financial pressures and appeal of healthy options  Hypothesis #3: First year students residing in Walter Gage will have more perceived control of healthy eating than Place Vanier and Totem Park residents.   Participants: The participants in this study were UBC students holding first year status who live in Place Vanier, Totem Park, or Walter Gage residence. These participants were approached in each respective resident’s common area and were asked to ensure their first year standing, and that they did indeed live in the appropriate residence.    Conditions: The conditions in this study are the different residential areas: Place Vanier, Walter Gage, Totem Park. The differences between these three groups are that Walter Gage is geographically closer to the main bus loop, most UBC food services, have access to food storage and a full kitchen. Moreover, students in Walter Gage are not enlisted in a meal plan. In regards to Totem Park and Place Vanier, these housing areas are located further away from the main UBC bus loop, which restricts the ease of commuting off-campus to eat. These two residence Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 areas are also located further away from the majority of UBC food services, and require all students to register in a meal plan. Finally, similar to food establishments near Walter Gage, Totem Park and Place Vanier have dining halls that provide both healthy and unhealthy food options. Another similarity is that all three resident areas house first year students. Finally, we will also be controlling for age and gender in our data collection as there may be some variability between each resident area.    Measures: The main method of data collection for this correlational study was self-report surveys (appendix A). We incorporated questions regarding aspects that we thought may have influence residents’ eating behavior such as time, cost, and perceived control over healthy eating choices. The barriers that we suggested in our first hypothesis, which include proximity to healthy on-campus food options and the bus loops, as well as lack of access to personal kitchen facilities and financial restrictions (including meal plans), are reflected in our survey. Questions such as asking where a participant lives will help understand where in terms of on-campus food options and public transport they live. “How much money do you allocate per week” will allow us to gauge each participant's financial restrictions or lack thereof.   The second hypothesis highlights the issue of financial restrains as well as healthy food options within the meal plan. In order to address this prediction, the survey includes questions such as, “At any time I want food, healthy options are available to me” as well as asking participants to identify other on-campus establishments where they may be using their flex meal plan dollars. Finally, the third hypothesis requires data regarding which participants feel that time is a barrier to healthy eating. The survey included questions such as “The process of buying food and making food takes too much time” and “I regularly eat breakfast” to gauge how time may be a factor hindering healthy eating. In regards to administering the survey, we plan to ask for oral consent and then ask participants to fill out the survey themselves in order to maximize the accuracy of each answer.  Procedure: Self-report surveys were administered to 140 residents holding first year status (female: 74, male: 66, other: 0) in the commons blocks of the following UBC Residences: Totem Park, Place Vanier, and Walter Gage. The three main conditions require eligible participants from Totem and Vanier who have a meal plan, and eligible Gage participants without a meal plan. All surveys were taken alone during the second week of March, distributing equal numbers in the afternoon and evening, while avoiding eating locations or typical eating times. The survey (Appendix A) consisted of multiple demographic questions, circling the top 3 UBC food establishments they frequent, and questions relating to healthy eating on the Likert scale.  Results: Our self-report survey (Appendix A) uses a 1-6 Likert Scale to signify intensity of feelings regarding attitudes and barriers of healthy eating. Within each of the questions, each of the 3 conditions had a mean value 1<x<6, using standard error to signify variance. We compared averages between 3 different groups using ANOVA. For direct comparisons between averages, we used a 2 sample t-test. We expect similar variance between conditions. These comparisons require similar participants for each condition, so we will have equal (n), controlling for time of day and day of week. Firstly, we hypothesized that students residing in Walter Gage will have more perceived control of healthy eating than Place Vanier and Totem Park residents. This was done by comparing questions such as “Food establishments near me offer healthy food options that I enjoy eating” (Appendix, Fig. B-2), “I limit my food options based on cost” (Appendix, Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 Fig. B-6), and “Buying groceries and preparing food at home is an easy process for me.” (Appendix, Fig. B-3). We found strong significance (p<0.0001) in the data showing that Walter Gage residents feel like they can prepare their own food easily, and moderate significance (p<0.08) showing that they feel that they have more healthy options available to them and that they do not limit their meal choices based on cost. Thus, we gathered that this illustrates that Walter Gage residents have more perceived control over healthy eating behavior. Similarly, in terms of the hypothesis regarding possible financial constraints, this study predicted that students with a meal plan will feel more deterred from healthy options due to financial pressures and appeal of healthy options. This was operationalized as a comparison of average ratings for questions such as: the average healthiness of each participant’s top 3 most visited food establishments, whether or not they limit their food choices based on cost, and an estimate of how much money is spend on food per week (See fig. B-7).  In every metric, residents with meal plans reported more unhealthy eating habits, and significantly more financial constraint. This may be related to actual unhealthy eating, but as this research is correlational, we cannot make such conclusions.  Finally, the third hypothesis related to time predicted that residents from Place Vanier and Totem Park would feel the barrier of time (associated with meal preparation and cleanup) less than residents in Walter Gage. After conducting a statistical analysis comparing participant answers to questions such as “The process from buying food, eating, and cleaning up, takes too much time” (Appendix, Fig. B-5), we concluded that there was no statistical significance to these data comparisons, and therefore, amount of time does not seem to be a barrier that is related to eating behaviors.   Discussions: The results obtained from the self-report measures were able to determine that students with a meal plan were more likely to be deterred from healthy options due to financial pressures. In addition, those students that were residing in Walter Gage residence, the residence hall without a dining hall, had more perceived control of healthy eating behaviour over Place Vanier and Totem Park. Although the experiment yielded statistical significant results between some factors on the survey, there are various aspects of the design that could have affected the reliability and validity of the study. Firstly, when looking at our survey, some students may have been unfamiliar with the food establishment choices listed, therefore they may have chosen food establishments that they recognize the most regardless of their actual eating habits. We also did not measure how often they visited these food establishments. We also did not have a comprehensive list that outlined all possible food outlets as a few participants had asked why their most visited food establishments were not listed. The reason for this is because we decided only to include food establishments listed under UBC food services. Moreover, food establishment scores were arbitrary as the divide between healthy and not healthy as this segregation was based on the average healthiness of the food options provided at each establishment.  Secondly, there may have been a selection bias, as we noticed that we only approached participants based on those that were perceived as being first years and mainly avoided people who were in a hurry. Furthermore, prospective students could give preference between three areas as first years were not randomly assigned into each residence building. Also, there may have be a self-presentation bias as the surveys were filled in the presence of the observers, so surveys were not 100% anonymous. The presence of the observers may have had an influence on the participants, as they may have wanted to give a better representation of themselves or to simply feel better about themselves. Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 There is one major potential confound in our data collection: there was a statistical difference in the average age of Walter Gage residence, who were found to be 6 months older than most students from Place Vanier and Totem Park.  The reason as to why we chose first year students was due to the fact that it was assumed that most students had never been away from home. So by assuming this, we ruled out the possibility of more experienced students that were in first year such as transfer students, part time students and students repeating first year. More thorough survey methods in the future would allow us to make less assumptions.  This research is purely correlational - while we can make conclusions linking residences and healthy eating behaviors, there is no definitive answer of causality we can give. Future studies that expand our data into experimental methods are listed in the recommendations to our client.   Recommendations for your client: Based on our study, there are several recommendations that can be made. Firstly healthy food options in the dining hall need to be less expensive. The survey showed that money was a large barrier for students and this hindered them from purchasing the more expensive but healthier options. In addition to this, there is a limited amount of healthy food options in the dining hall and other food establishments on campus thus there needs to be an increase in the healthy food options in the food establishments on campus. For example, Magdas is an excellent resource for students coming home late and needing to eat. But if the most appealing options are deep fried then students will default to unhealthy options. There are also not enough healthy food establishments near first year residences so there needs to be an increase in these types of establishments on campus. Future studies also need to be conducted to address certain shortcomings of this correlational survey. There are a number of experimental manipulations which could establish causality between location, price, healthy eating, and kitchen facilities.  A longitudinal study that tracks the weight of students living in the first year residences could give more accurate results. With permission, studies could track purchases on the UBC Meal Cards and get accurate data regarding healthy food choices in residence dining halls, and also see if they purchase healthier options if they have no financial constraints. In particular, our research showed that the Vanier residents visited the most unhealthy food establishments of any residence, but the Ponderosa Commons has opened a new health food mini-mart across the street from Vanier since our data collection. If this research was replicated next year, Vanier might visit healthier food establishments on average, giving experimental weight to the barrier of location.   References:  Freshman 15: College Weight Gain Is Real. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/20090728/freshman-15-college-weight-gain-is-real  Mihalopoulos, N. L., Auinger, P., & Klein, J. D. (2008). The Freshman 15: Is it Real? Journal of American College Health, 56(5), 531-534. doi:10.3200/jach.56.5.531-534   Appendix A: Research Questionnaire   Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016        Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 Appendix B: Graphs of Likert Scale questions relating to Hypotheses. (n=140).    All values are reskinned graphs calculated in Microsoft Excel 2010. Error bars denote Standard Error, and test statistics were calculated using multiple Student’s t-test denoted in each caption. Vanier=V=Green, Totem=T=Blue, Gage=G=Yellow.     Fig. B-2. “Any time I want food, healthy options are available to me.” p<0.24 (G vs T+V)   Fig. B-3. “Buying groceries and preparing food at home is an easy process for me.” p<0.0001 G vs T+V; T vs V n.s.) These results correlated moderately with “I make an effort to eat healthy” (r=0.27). Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Fig. B-4. “Food establishments on campus near me offer healthy food options that I enjoy eating”. Moderate significance: p<0.086 (G vs T+V),   Fig. B-5. “The process from buying food, eating, and cleaning up, takes too much time.” No significant difference or trend.   Fig. B-6. “I limit my food options based on cost.” Moderate significance: p<0.07 (G vs T+V).  Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016   Fig. B-7. “How much money do you allocate to food per week? Give an estimate.” p<0.02 (G vs T+V). Scores from Fig. 7 correlate moderately with Fig. 6, with a fit of r=0.37.          Appendix C: Map of UBC with selection of food establishments. All survey options are UBC Food Services who do not predominantly deal in coffee. Establishments are sorted into categories of “more healthy” in green, and “less healthy” in red.    Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016 Appendix D: Statistical Analysis Fig. D-1 – Averages and Standard Error    Fig. D-2 – t-test Scores Gage vs. Trad Style Housing    Fig. D-3 – Average Age Differences between Resident Areas   Fig. D-4 – ANOVA test     Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016  Appendix E: Raw Data Collected   Carb Conscious Final Report                                                                                           April/8th/ 2016    

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