Objective. Determine the relationship between dietary quality and body weight/composition in college women. Specific emphasis was made regarding adherence to current MyPyramid guidelines, fruit, vegetable and junk food consumption.

Design/Participants. The study used a cross-sectional design. One hundred and sixty three women were recruited to participate in the study. All participants were university students (20.4 ± 1.6 y). Diet intake was measured using the Dietary History Questionnaire (DHQ) and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) was calculated to assess diet quality. Body fat percentage was assessed using the Bod Pod and BMI was calculated using height and weight measurements. Physical activity was measured objectively using accelerometers over seven consecutive days.

Results. There was no significant difference in BMI or body fat percentage across university year. There was no relationship between diet quality (as measured using the Healthy Eating Index) and percent body fat or BMI. The number of MyPyramid equivalents of fruit was negatively correlated to body fat percentage (r = -0.2, p ≤ 0,05) but not BMI (r = -0.093, p =0.26). The number of MyPyramid equivalents of dairy was also negatively related to both body fat percentage (r = -0.21, p ≤ 0.05) and BMI (r = -0.21, p ≤ 0.05). Percentage of calories from Non Nutrient Dense Foods (NNDF) was positively related to percent body fat ( r= 0.179, p = 0.029). For every 1-percentage increase in NNDF, there was a 0.12 percentage point increase in body fat.

Conclusion. Increasing fruit, dairy, and vegetable intake, and reducing intake from Non Nutrient Dense Foods (NNDF) such as French fries, cookies, and candy, may have a beneficial influence on body composition in college women.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





body composition, dietary quality, non-nutrient dense food, college, junk food, body fat percentage, college, HEI, DHQ, women