College students' fruit and vegetable consumption and their perspective on establishing a farmers market at an urban university in South Texas
Overweight and obesity is a leading risk factor for many chronic diseases, which may be reduced with increases in fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption. FV intake may increase with the establishment of farmers' markets. This study aimed to investigate college students' FV consumption patterns and factors contributing to intended campus farmers' market utilization. This cross-sectional study used a proportionate stratified cluster-randomized sampling strategy to survey a representative sample of college students from an urban Hispanic-serving institution of higher learning in South Texas. All classes were stratified by course level, college, and time offered prior to random selection. Among the 1,166 students invited to participate, 1,099 students completed an anonymous, multiple choice, paper questionnaire regarding FV intake, interest in establishing a campus farmers' market, and market use. Survey data were entered into SPSS and descriptive statistics were performed. SPSS Complex Samples Procedure was used for all descriptive and comparative analysis. The level of significance for all statistical tests was set at 0.05. Means and standard deviations were calculated for continuous variables, while percentage and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for categorical variables. Regression analysis was utilized to determine predictors of FV intake as well intended farmers' market use. The study found that only 7% of college students' are meeting the FV consumption recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Compared to males, females consume less FV than males. Additionally participants who consume food primarily away from home eat less FV compared to individuals who consume food at home. Almost all of the participants (93 %) wanted to see a farmers' market established on campus; and 88 % of participants said they intended to use the market once implemented. The study found that Hispanics and females were more likely to utilize the farmers' market after establishment. The present study demonstrated the needs for effective FV promotion strategies among college students during this critical developmental stage. A campus farmer's market appears to be an acceptable and feasible environmental strategy for FV promotion among this target population.