Objective: To compare the fruit, vegetable, and sugar sweetened beverage intake of college students who do and do not participate in dinner groups. Also, to determine if dinner group participation affects college students' perception of their overall health and adequacy of their fruit and vegetable intake. Design: A quantitative study of college students' fruit, vegetable, and sugar sweetened beverage intake through a one-time online survey. Setting: The survey was accessed via the internet at the time and place of students' convenience. Participants: A sample of 10,000 students was randomly selected from Brigham Young University's population of single students. 3,651 responded (a 37% response rate), but only 548 met our requirements and completed the survey. Sixty-one percent were female, 39% were male. Subgroups included students not belonging to a dinner group (n=243), students who met with a dinner group 1-3 times per week (n=167), and students who met with a dinner group 4 or more times per week (n=138).Main Outcome Measure(s): The independent variable measured was dinner group membership. Food intakes and perceptions were dependent variables. Food intakes were collected using adapted Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System recall questions. Perceptions were reported on a 1-5 Likert rating scale. Analysis: Post-hoc Tukey-Kramer adjustments were made to analysis of variance comparing intake and perception means. Statistical significance was set at p <0.05. Results: Prevalence of dinner group membership was 13%. Dinner group members drank significantly less soda than non-dinner group members (p=0.03). Intakes of fruits and vegetables did not differ between subgroups. Students' perception of the adequacy of their fruit and vegetable intake was aligned with their actual intake (p=0.0001); students who ate fewer cups rated their intake as poor more frequently than students who ate more cups. Dinner group members perceived better overall health and improved intake of fruit and vegetables from their participation in dinner groups. Conclusions: Though dinner group membership does not appear to affect fruit and vegetable intake, benefits were seen in reduced sugar sweetened beverage consumption. Further research may be warranted to examine other nutritional factors associated with dinner group membership as dinner groups may provide a unique opportunity for nutrition education and interventions and may provide more long term benefits than short term.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





dinner, young adults, fruit, vegetables, sugar sweetened beverage