Publication Date

Summer 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Colin Farrell (Director), Marilyn Gardner, and Xiuhua Ding

Degree Program

Department of Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Public Health


Most individuals with chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, were diagnosed in their late adulthood. The fact that these chronic diseases is a consequence of long-term unhealthy behaviors is often ignored. The unhealthy behaviors are often traced back to the young adulthood (age 18-25). Some young adults may participate in unhealthy behaviors, such as unhealthy diet, under the perception that they are “still young”. However, it is often overlooked that once a habit is established, it is difficult to eliminate or modify it. Furthermore, the awareness that the development of the chronic disease is a gradual progress is deficient. This enhances the perception that doing unhealthy behaviors is benign to the “young body”. Additionally, individuals in this age group start to live independently. Their existing behaviors may change due to the changes in the available resources. Lack of capability to cope with the transition from living at home to living independently has been shown to contribute to an unhealthy diet, especially among college students. Given that unhealthy diet behaviors in young adulthood often remains over the lifetime, there is a need in identifying the factors that motivate the food choices during the transition from high school into college life. The findings of this research suggest that the campus environment is not conducive to a healthy diet. When compared to the students who live on-campus, students who live offcampus (either live with or without family) reported a better dietary quality.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion