UBC Undergraduate Research

Nutrition and Wellbeing of Students Attending the Allard School of Law Hayes, Gillian; Laihem, Lilia; Chai, Alyssa; Ahmed, Faiza; Marin, Michelle; Sun, Sharon


The Wellbeing Team at the Peter A. Allard School of Law (Allard Law) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) provides law students with resources addressing their physical, emotional, and behavioural needs. A situational assessment revealed relevant problems in the target population relating to poor mental health and limited food literacy. Behaviours that contributed to these issues included students' dietary patterns and social behaviours, further influenced by mediating factors at the individual, interpersonal, and environmental levels. Initial interview results suggested that Allard Law's academic workload and time-consuming nature causes students to prioritize academic and career-driven goals over their health and wellbeing. Using the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), we analyzed the interactions between personal, behavioural, and environmental factors (reciprocal determinism). Five other SCT constructs (self-efficacy, behavioural capability, relevant expectations, reinforcement, and observational learning) were also considered. With this in consideration, and together with the Allard Student Wellbeing Counsellor, Anna Kline, and the UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability Program, our project aims to improve Allard Law students' wellbeing by addressing food literacy through nutritional resources that improve diet quality and brain health. Program outputs included (1) initial interviews and follow-up surveys of multi-year law students, (2) nutritional resources in the form of videos and infographics to support brain health and cognitive performance, and (3) a summary and recommendations document to guide future wellness programming. Our short-term evaluation plan consisted of process and outcome indicators measured through follow-up surveys to indicate effectiveness in increasing food literacy levels. Our medium- and long-term evaluation plan would assess the level of engagement of students in support networks, annual survey reports of wellbeing, and evaluate improvements in available nutrition resources and healthy food options on campus. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS 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 the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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