Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Fall 2017

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Nutrition, Dietetics

First Advisor

Jesse Stabile Morrell


Background: Environmental factors play a large role in shaping diet and lifestyle behaviors. Creating a college campus environment conducive to healthy dietary choices and physical activity may promote student health.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore and describe the availability of environmental supports for a healthy lifestyle on the UNH campus and student behaviors.

Design: The Healthy Campus Environmental Audit (HCEA), a comprehensive tool developed by a USDA multi-state research team led by Syracuse University, was implemented to measure the availability of healthy options in dining establishments (n=12) and the adequacy of recreation facilities (n=3) and walking/biking paths (n=28) on the UNH campus. Results from the HCEA were compared to student behaviors, as reported by the College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey (CHANAS), an ongoing cross-sectional project at UNH. The main outcomes of the HCEA included the availability of fruit and vegetable options in dining establishments and adequacy of recreation facilities and walking and biking paths. The main outcomes of CHANAS included students’ reported fruit and vegetable intake and amount of fruit and vegetable intake per week.

Results: Fruit and vegetable options were more frequently available in UNH-affiliated venues than non-UNH-affiliated venues (≥2 fruit and ≥ 3 vegetable options in 50% of UNH-affiliated venues and ≥ 1 fruit and ≥ 1 vegetable option in 10% non-UNH-affiliated venues). One-third and one-half of students reported consuming ≥ 2 cups of fruit and ≥ 2 ½ cups vegetables, respectively, per day. UNH students reported a mean of 5.0 hours of vigorous activity, 4.3 hours of moderate activity, and 10.6 hours of walking per week.

Conclusion: Walking/biking paths and recreation facilities are adequate to support recommended physical activity levels. However, fruit and vegetable options in dining establishments on the UNH campus may not be adequate to help students meet MyPlate recommendations.