Date of Award

Spring 2018


Capstone - Open Access


Community Health Education

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Allison Higgins


Introduction: Behavioral patterns acquired in college may contribute to overweight and obesity later in life. Food found in college dormitories and dining halls are those of convenience. Physical activity and a healthy diet are important components to maintaining a healthy weight. Research Questions: The purpose of this study is to investigate if residency during college and access to kitchen appliances impacts students’ dietary composition and physical activity levels and other health behaviors. Methodology: 38 students (27 residents and 11 commuters) from Merrimack College participated in the study. These participants were recruited through convenience sampling on campus. All participants completed a nutrition and physical activity questionnaire as well as a 3-day dietary food log. Results: There was statistical difference among students with different living situations and the amount of times they cook meals as home, as well as the amount of times that they ate at the school cafeteria per week. Residents spent more money and ordered takeout more frequently than commuters. The dietary food logs showed significant difference between the means of the consumption of total carbohydrates and total sugars between residents and commuters. Conclusion: The most important finding of the current study is that residency and access to kitchen appliances in college does contribute to the overall health of college students.