In nursing, balancing the food intake has been an imperative measure. Nutrition relates directly to a healthy life as well as human growth and development. Balancing nutritional intake must therefore be adhered to in each meal being consumed. Besides, the nutritional habits and components of all meals significantly contribute to the dietary intake. For instance, proper dietary habits appear to contribute towards healthy lifestyles. As a result, good nutritional habits assist in the prevention of civilization illnesses. Despite the negative impacts of improper nutritional habits, college and university students seem to lack awareness of such effects.
Based on the insufficient research information in the area being studied, the researcher intends to assess the nutritional statuses and performances of Flinders and Bedfordshire University students. In order to understand the opinions of the students on the diets served and get the initial comprehension of the comparative levels of Body Mass Index allotment amongst undergraduates, the researcher will evaluate the food intakes of different students. The researcher will use a cross-sectional research method when determining and assessing Flinders and Bedfordshire University students’ lifestyles and nutritional statuses.
University students appear to be an imperative unit in every group of inhabitants. However, such students are prone to the development of improper dietary habits. According to a study by Ansari and Stock (2010) when students inadequately consume nutrients, both the performances and health statuses of students will be directly affected. Poor or good nutritional habits may result in overweight, underweight, obesity, and civilization diseases including consuming more food before and after mealtimes. Given that students seem to lack knowledge on food group intakes and nutritional lifestyles, it is important to generate information on the nutritional patterns and health statuses of students. The information will assist in gauging whether the student’s achievements are affected based on the nutritional habits.
The available study literature hardly offers enough information on the nutritional patterns and habits amongst students. As a result, the students’ performances and academic achievements are significantly affected based on their dietary habits. The students usually have different Body Mass Indexes owing to the miss conceptions and errors correlated to the nutritional habits or food intakes.
As a cross-sectional study, the general research question will be, “What is the effect of good nutrition on students’ performance or achievement at the university? However, the research will offer answers to the following research sub-questions:
- What clearly determines the nutritional patterns of university students?
- Do good nutritional patterns affect students’ achievements and performances at the university?
- Could students’ performances at the university be attributed to other factors other than just their eating habits?
Various study literature written on the nutritional statuses of students has revealed that college and university students embrace standards of living that either negatively or positively impact their health and nutrition (Murray et al., 2009). A nutritional study conducted by Hoyland, Dye, and Lawton (2009) showed that the diets of most university and college students are subjected to various factors. In fact, factors such as students’ knowledge of health and nutrition as well as their residential backgrounds might alter nutritional habits. Hence, these may impact their academic achievements and performances. Kremmyda et al., (2008) refuted this assertion in their longitudinal research study. Their research findings indicated that students’ knowledge as regards health and nutrition hardly determine the desired eating patterns for the university students.
However, Kremmyda et al. (2008) also insist that given that both college and university students practice personal eating habits, nutritional experts perceive this as a major health problem. Ansari and Stock (2010) supported this claim by asserting that bad nutritional habits are detrimental and may affect students’ performance and achievements. Besides, Maurage et al., (2009) affirmed that bad nutrition or poor food consumption patterns bear allied health and performance risks. According to Reedy and Krebs-Smith (2010) assertions, changes in the students’ lifestyles significantly affect their nutrition and health patterns. These in turn impact their academic performances and achievements. Murray et al., (2009) on the other hand conducted a cross-sectional survey using college students who are in the boarding. The results revealed that the rate of consuming whole-fatty foods plus heavy carbohydrates is minimal amongst the boarding college students.
Research Methods and techniques
A quantitative study will be carried out using the cross-sectional study design in order to determine the significance or importance of proper nutrition on the overall academic performance of students at the universities. The health belief (nutritional) model will be applied to guide this survey and more importantly, to understand the way food intake influences the participants’ performances. The study design (cross-sectional study) is selected given its feasibility, efficiency, and being economical (Ding et al., 2009). The conclusion drawn will be very reliable and valid since data from the study design is accurate.
Participants and sampling
In this survey, all universities students are deemed eligible to participate in the research. However, the targeted sample population for the survey will be drawn from students at Flinders and Bedfordshire Universities. The total number of students or the sample size to be surveyed comprises 60 students represented by each gender (30 students from each university). These students will be chosen using the convenience-sampling method given that the researcher will be unable to survey every single study population member. The research questionnaire will be administered to the conveniently sampled population in order to help address the formulated research questions. As indicated, the proposed sample will comprise 30 female participants between the age of 18 and 35 years, and 30 gentlemen aged between 18 and 40 years.
Data for this study will largely be collected from primary sources. The most important and relevant statistics will be gathered via self-administered study questionnaires. The assumption is that a comprehensive explorative instrument has been developed and satisfactorily tested prior to embarking on this actual research study. Therefore, sixty self-administered questionnaires that examine the effect of nutrition on the students’ performance will be used.
The questionnaire will take the students between 16 and 20 minutes to complete. The questionnaires have been developed based on the contained elements and focus on the perceived benefits, barriers, susceptibility, and the effectiveness of nutrition on students’ health and performances. The questionnaire also examines other factors that influence the nutritional habits of university students.
Planned Method of Data Analysis
The collected research information will be analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. For example, data collected through questionnaires will be analyzed by means of content analysis along with logical analysis techniques. Regression analysis will be applied to establish the correlation that exists between study variables namely good nutrition and students’ performance or achievement at the university. The SPSS program will be used to analyze research data. However, for the explanation of ANOVA, descriptive statistics will be used.
Further quantitative data analysis techniques including percentages, frequency distribution, and deviations will be used to analyze data. The method will be applied for each group of items available in the questionnaire that corresponds to the formulated research question and objectives.
Discussion and findings
Different tables will be used to offer findings and discussions on the study. In the first table, the distribution of students founded on anthropometric measurements and age will be presented. The means and standard deviations on the students’ height, weight, age, and Body Mass Index will be offered in this table. In the second table, the students Body Mass Distribution including obese, overweight, normal weight and underweight students will be presented. The third table will provide findings and discussions on the knowledge of students with respect to dietary intake and students’ performances. The nutritional knowledge distribution will include excellent, good, or bad for both universities.
In the fourth table, the findings and discussions on the percentage of the required nutrient intake, macronutrients, and the normal daily energy intake will be offered. The nutrient intakes will include fiber, carbohydrates, fat, proteins, and total energy. The fifth table will provide the results and discussions on the standard consumption of minerals and vitamins as a fraction of the required nutrients intakes. The nutrients will include vitamin A and C, zinc, iron, and calcium. The sixth table will present results and discussions on the mean nutrients and energy consumed by students expressed as fractions of the required nutrients intakes.
Given the poor dietary habits reported amongst university students, it is important that nutritional services offered should be appetizing and nutritious. In fact, the performances of students are affected by their nutritional habits. Based on this, the study assesses whether foods rich in carbohydrates or energy should be decreased or increased to improve the students’ performances. Besides, the study assesses what determines the nutritional patterns of university students and whether good nutritional patterns affect students’ achievements and performances at the university. Finally, the study concludes by offering suggestions on whether the students’ performances at the universities could be attributed to other factors other than just eating habits.
Ansari, W. & Stock, C. (2010). Is the health and wellbeing of university students associated with their academic performance? Cross sectional findings from the United Kingdom. Int. J Environ Res Public Health, 7(2): 509–527.
Ding, W., Lehrer, S., Rosenquist, J., & Audrain-McGovern, J. (2009). The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers. J. Health Econ, 28(4), 578–597.
Hoyland, A., Dye, L. & Lawton, C. (2009). A systematic review of the effect of breakfast on the cognitive performance of children and adolescents. Nutrition Research Reviews, 22 (2), 220–243.
Kremmyda, L., Papadaki, A., Hondros, G., Kapsokefalou, M., & Scott, J. (2008). Differentiating between the effect of rapid dietary acculturation and the effect of living away from home for the first time, on the diets of Greek students studying in Glasgow. Appetite, 50(2), 455-463.
Maurage, P., Pesenti, M., Philippot, P., Joassin, F., & Campanella S., (2009). Latent deleterious effects of binge drinking over a short period of time revealed only by electrophysiological measures. Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience, 34(2), 111-8.
Murray, N., Low, B., Hollis, C., Cross, A., & Davis, S. (2009). Coordinated school health programs and academic achievement: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of School Health, 77(9), 589-600.
Reedy, J., & Krebs-Smith, S. (2010). Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110 (10), 1477–1484.