The Longer the Semester the Worse the Snacks

Public Health Nutrition, 16:7

11 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Retired

Jessica (Ying) Cao

University of Guelph

Prerna Saini

Cornell University

Mitsuru Shimizu

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

David Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Date Written: July 17, 2011

Abstract

Background: Snacks, stress, and parties all contribute to the weight gain – the elusive “Freshman 15” – that some college-goers unfortunately experience. This report examines how ala cart snack choice changes on a university campus during each progressing week of the academic calendar.

Methods: The data were collected from the three largest cafeterias (or dining halls) on Cornell University’s campus during 4 semesters (Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007 and Spring 2008), for 18 weeks in each semester. After the ala cart snack items were divided into healthy snacks and less healthy snacks, percentage share for each food grouping category was calculated. Data were analyzed in 2011.

Results: Within each semester, the less healthy food choices consistently increased 0.4% per week (beta=-0.00356, P<0.01). Furthermore, a sharp (8%) increase occurred in the final two weeks of the semester. In contrast, healthy food choices decreased almost 4% (beta=-0.0398, P<0.01) in the final two weeks during the fall semester.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate an increased demand for hedonic, less healthy snack foods as the college semesters progress, and in particular at the very end of the semester. To counter this tendency toward less healthy snacking, cafeterias and stores should reserve extra effort to promote healthy alternatives during the later weeks of the semesters.

Keywords: Food sales, Snack choice, Stress, Food Choice, College cafeterias, snacking, weight gain

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Cao, Jessica (Ying) and Saini, Prerna and Shimizu, Mitsuru and Just, David, The Longer the Semester the Worse the Snacks (July 17, 2011). Public Health Nutrition, 16:7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711344

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Jessica (Ying) Cao

University of Guelph ( email )

50 Stone Rd. E.
Dept. of FARE
Guelph, Ontario N1G2W1
Canada
1-519-824-4120 x.58274 (Phone)
1-519-767-1510 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uoguelph.ca/fare/users/ycao01

Prerna Saini

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Mitsuru Shimizu

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville ( email )

1 Hairpin Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

David Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
6072552086 (Phone)

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