College students’ lifestyle and eating habits strongly affect their health. Among many healthy eating behaviors, including whole grain food in the diet is known as providing health benefits such as maintaining a steady blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and in general the well-being.
However, consumers’ intakes of whole grain products remain below recommendation, including college students. This study aims to evaluate determinant factors contributing to college students’ willingness to include whole grain pasta in their diets. A sample of 499 students enrolled in a US college participated in this study. Most students perceived whole grain pasta as healthy and filling and somewhat tasty. Availability and price were not barriers for consumption. Logistic regression results suggested that factors affecting students’ willingness to consume whole grain pasta in the future were the desire to eat, cognitive and affective attitudes, perception of whole grain pasta, as well as having already chosen pasta thanks to its availability at the dining. Two student segments were identified according to their healthy eating perception: Uninvolved and Health-conscious. Cognitive attitudes such as beneficial and essential had positive effects on consumption in both segments, suggesting that information provision covering specific health/nutritional benefits of whole grains for students is crucial.
The link to the paper is available here.
Perception of whole grain pasta in the sample, Cluster 1 (Uninvolved) and Cluster 2 (Health-conscious).