Reasons for food choices in nursing university students

Fernanda Carneiro Mussi, Caren Lorena Menezes Freitas, Tássia Teles Santana de Macêdo, Eliane Barbosa de Souza, Alana de Souza Reis Carneiro


Background and objective: Food choice is a complex process that involves sensory and non-sensory characteristics, therefore, sociocultural, and psychological factors. The purpose of this study was to describe the reasons for food choices of nursing university students.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 286 university students of the nursing course at a public university in Salvador/BA. Data were obtained by applying sociodemographic and academic life characterization instruments. The reasons for food choices were evaluated by the Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ). The data were analyzed in percentages and the reasons for food choices by calculating the unweighted mean of each factor.

Results: There was a predominance of females (90.2%), unmarried with partners (90.9%), black race/color (87.8%). and the mean age was 23.4 years old (sd = 4.4). The majority of the students had semester load between 401 and 500 hours (58.8%) and attended university in two or more shifts (80.4%). Among the nine dimensions of the instrument, Sensory Appeal (x̄ = 3.35), Price (x̄ = 3.27) and Health (x̄ = 3.18) were the three most important for food choice. The familiarity and ethical concern factors were the least considered. Considering the FCQ items, the students chose the foods first because they were tasty (x̄ = 3.52), healthy (x̄ = 3.47) and of good price (x̄ = 3.40).

Conclusions: For the students, the sensory appeal was the main reason for choosing food, being more relevant than price and health. Thus, there is need to consider the supply of healthy, attractive, and affordable foods in the university environment.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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