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Design of Nudge-based Interventions for Increasing Vegetable Intake in Emerging Adults within On-Campus Dining Sites

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Title: Design of Nudge-based Interventions for Increasing Vegetable Intake in Emerging Adults within On-Campus Dining Sites
Author: Holligan, Simone Danielle
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Brauer, Paula
Abstract: A sequential exploratory mixed-methods approach was used to explore the eating behaviours of emerging adults in on-campus dining locations. The major aim was the development of nudge interventions to increase vegetable intake within this population group. Nudge interventions are here defined as the design of options that alter people’s behaviour in a foreseeable manner without forbidding options or imposing significant economic consequences. This study involved two phases. The first phase was the Your Meals, Your Choice Photovoice study which investigated the factors influencing the selection and purchasing of meals by undergraduate students in the on-campus dining environment. Emergent themes clustered within three major categories related to the university institution, the food service provider, and at the level of the individual. The second phase of this study was the Your Meals, Your Style online survey, designed based on major themes from the Your Meals, Your Choice study. This survey identified the menu choices most selected, as well as the food stations and cafeterias most frequented by undergraduates on campus. Heuristic factors were identified that indicated how students streamline their decision-making processes in terms of selection and purchasing of meals for consumption. Specifically, the majority of students tended to purchase lunch options while on campus and frequented cafeterias that were centrally located. Of the lunch options, customizable and portable ‘one-unit’ meals such as sandwiches, pitas, wraps, and pizza were most frequently selected. Preferred vegetable additions and substitutions for modifying current menu offerings were mainly of the cruciferous (i.e.,broccoli, cauliflower, and kale) and yellow/orange categories (e.g., carrots and tomatoes). Moreover, factors influencing undergraduate meal choices aligned with a worldview of desiring a socially-responsible lifestyle, specifically in wanting to be better informed about the meals they choose to consume. Through consultation with the Department of Hospitality Services, results from this series of studies were used to develop preliminary nudge interventions for increasing vegetable intake in the local undergraduate population.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/10480
Date: 2017-05-19


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