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Nutrients. 2018 Jul 25;10(8). pii: E957. doi: 10.3390/nu10080957.

Relationship between Diet and Mental Health in a Young Adult Appalachian College Population.

Author information

1
Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, 4100 Agricultural Sciences Building, P.O. Box 6108, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA. rawattick@mix.wvu.edu.
2
Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, 4100 Agricultural Sciences Building, P.O. Box 6108, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA. rlhagedorn@mix.wvu.edu.
3
Human Nutrition and Foods, Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, G25 Agricultural Sciences Building, 333 Evansdale, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA. Melissa.olfert@mail.wvu.edu.

Abstract

Young adults in Appalachia may face poor nutritional status due to low access to healthy food and high mental health symptoms attributed to high stress and the college environment. A cross-sectional design was used to investigate the relationship between diet intake and mental health status of this population via surveys. Participant responses (n = 1956) showed students' mean number of depressed days over the past 30 days was 9.67 ± 8.80, and of anxious days, 14.1 ± 10.03. The mean fruit and vegetable intake was 1.80 ± 1.27 times per day and the mean added sugars intake was 1.79 ± 1.26 times per day. 36.7% of students were found to be food insecure. One-way ANOVA and Chi-Squared analyses were used to determine relationship between variables. Significant variables were placed into a full logistic regression model. Food insecurity and fruit and vegetable intake remained significant predictors of depression in males (odds ratio (OR) = 2.33 95% CI 1.47⁻3.71 and OR = 68 95% CI 50⁻89, respectively) and in females food insecurity remained a significant predictor of depression (OR = 2.26 95% CI 1.67⁻3.07). Food insecurity and added sugars intake were significant predictor of anxiety in males (OR = 2.33 95% CI 1.47⁻3.71 and OR = 1.09 95% CI 0.91⁻1.3, respectively) and for anxiety in females, added sugars intake and food insecurity were significant predictors (OR = 1.18 95% CI 1.05⁻1.32 and OR = 1.65 95% CI 1.27⁻2.16, respectively). Improving college student's diet intake through increased access to healthy foods could improve the mental health and well-being of students.

KEYWORDS:

college; diet quality; food insecurity; mental health; student; young adult

PMID:
30044399
PMCID:
PMC6115820
DOI:
10.3390/nu10080957
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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