The prevalence of fad diets on a college campus : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Pedtke, Andrea
Kandiah, Jayanthi
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Thesis (B.S.)
Honors College
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The Prevalence of Fad Diets on a College Campus StudentThe purpose of this study was to assess the presence of fad dieting, as well as evaluate the results of such fad diets, among male and female students at Ball State University. In this project, 336 students completed a 24-question survey. Forty-seven subjects were eliminated due to age restrictions. The study limitations required subjects to be between the ages of 18-23. The average age for the study was 20 years ± 1.39 years. Of the 289 subjects used, 76 (26%) were males and 213 (74%) were females. One-third (n=93) of the students surveyed said they had tried a fad diet. Of that percentage, 13% (n=10) of the males had tried a fad diet, and 40% (n=83) of the females had tried a fad diet. The results of the longest fad diet tried by students were primarily weight gain or no change in weight. Forty-three percent (n=37) of those who tried a fad diet said they gained weight, while 37% (n=32) said they experienced no change at all. Not surprisingly, 58.1 % (n=54) of fad dieters only stayed on the diet for one month or less. Also, 34.4% (n=32) of the fad dieters stayed on the diet for three months or less. Therefore, the survey results showed that a combined 92.5% of the fad dieters were not able to sustain their fad diet of choice for long. Overall, those students who tried a fad diet expressed a dissatisfaction with the results. Forty-six percent (n=34) said fad diets are unhealthy and fail to produce lasting results, while another 14.9% (n=11) viewed such diets as unhealthy. The investigator of this study believes that college students are no exception to today's trend of fad dieting. However, this study reflects the failure of such fad diets as a permanent weight loss plan for students.