Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Dan Benardot

Second Advisor

Dr. Murugi Ndirangu

Third Advisor

Barbara Hopkins


Purpose: Evidence suggests that olive oil consumption is associated with a decreased prevalence of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. The purpose of this study was to assess the intake and knowledge of olive oil and other lipids in a collegiate population.

Methods: Using an IRB-approved protocol, volunteered college students (N=56) from the college of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia State University completed a questionnaire on lipid and knowledge and eating behavior. Results were assessed to determine if students were able to accurately answer questions on the contents of different lipids, and also to determine the consumption behaviors of different lipids. Statistical comparisons were made between undergraduate and graduate students, and between students in different academic majors (nutrition, nursing, respiratory therapy, social work, criminal justice, and other).

Results: It was hypothesized that eating behaviors would overemphasize unhealthy lipids. Lipids assessed included: olive oil, butter, canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, margarine, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. There were no statistically significant differences between the ratios of consumed lipids labeled as ‘good’, and lipids labeled as ‘bad’. There were also no statistically significant differences in the presence of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ lipids in the subjects’ kitchens. Therefore, the results of this study were not able to disprove the null hypothesis. Nevertheless, using a Likert scale response scheme, there was a difference (p=0.041) between academic majors in the consumption of canola oil (an oil high in monounsaturated fatty acid), with Nursing majors reporting the highest consumption (X=3.73; SD=1.61) and Respiratory Therapy majors reporting the lowest consumption (X=1.89; SD=1.53). There was no statistically significant difference between graduate and undergraduate students in the presence of lipids in the kitchen.

It was hypothesized that subject knowledge of lipid constituents would be poor. The majority of subjects either failed to respond correctly to the constituents of different lipids or reported that they did not know. Based on this result, the study is able to reject the lipid knowledge null hypothesis. There were clear differences in subgroup knowledge of commonly consumed lipids. Most notably, 100% of nutrition students responded correctly to the constituents of olive oil.

Conclusions: This study focused on a group of college students in the College of Health and Human Sciences. One might assume that such a population would be sensitive and knowledgeable about key dietary factors that may influence disease risk. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that, except for isolated exceptions, the eating behaviors and lipid knowledge of these students in not at a level that could be considered health promoting. This suggests that, even with students in the health sciences, personal health classes are likely to be beneficial in reducing disease prevalence.


Included in

Nutrition Commons