FACTORS INFLUENCING FOOD CHOICE AMONG STUDENTS IN A RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE OF A MALAYSIA PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

This study examines factors influencing food choice among students in a residential college of a Malaysian public university. A simple random sampling method was used to select 250 respondents. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaire. Food Choice (Steptoe, Pollard and Wardle, 1995) and Food Frequency Questionnaires were used to measure food choice factors and dietary intake, respectively. The food choice factors included internal factors (sensory appeal, natural content and health) and external factors (ethics, weight control, convenience, familiarity, mood, and price). Results indicated that health (internal factors) and price (external factors) were the most important food choice factors for students. Ethics was the least important factor. Results indicated significant relationship between both internal and external food choice factors with dietary intake. Pork intake was related to ethics concerned (r = -0.28, p < 0.01). Weight management leaded to less burger intake (r = -0.16, p < 0.05). High health concern could incur consumption of carrot (r = 0.21, p < 0.01). Consumption of sweetened condensed milk was positively related to sensory appeal (r = 0.14, p < 0.05) and familiarity (r = 0.19, p < 0.01). In conclusion, the students were concerned with both health and price factors. With limited resources, students most concerned price of the food rather than other factors. Interestingly, price becomes the barrier to eating healthy. Further studies should be conducted at different geographical areas and education institutions.

Keywords : Food Choice, Students, Dietary Intake, Factors

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