Objective: Determine change in eating competence (EC) and factors related to EC in students enrolled in basic nutrition courses at a major private university. Design: Eating competence was measured by administering the ecSatter Inventory (ecSI) both before and after class intervention. Additional data on eating disorder prevalence, food security, and general demographics were also collected in the same structured survey. Significance identified with p value <0.01. Setting/Participants: This survey was administered to 566 students enrolled in basic nutrition courses at a major private university in the western United States. Analysis: ANOVA was used to determine relationships between ecSI end scores and participant characteristics. ANCOVA was used to determine relationships between change in ecSI scores over time and participant characteristics. Results: Enrollment in NDFS 100 is associated with an overall increase in eating competence (EC). However, students with current eating disorders had a significant decrease in EC during enrollment. Current or past eating disorders and low or very low Food Security Status were associated with lack of EC. Females and younger participants were not eating competent at the course end. Enrollment in NDFS 201 was not associated with significant change in EC. Conclusions: Basic nutrition instruction improves EC among students without eating disorders. Low food security status and presence of an eating disorder may be a barrier to improving EC.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





eating competence, students, nutrition courses, eating disorder, food security