Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Heidi J. Wengreen


Heidi J. Wengreen


Gregory Madden


Marlene Israelsen


Fruit and vegetable consumption, which has been shown to have a protective effect against chronic diseases, often decreases during the first few years of college. Implementing public health interventions to improve consumption of these foods may be time-consuming, costly and burdensome. The aim of this study was to determine if a social norms intervention, examining the effects of normative and manipulated feedback of participants’ carotenoid scores compared to a no-norm control, could increase fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. Such a strategy could be a cost-effective method for promoting healthy diets in this population.

While self-reported increases in fruit and vegetable intakes were not observed in FFQ reports, increases in skin carotenoid levels were observed among students receiving social norms feedback. Because there was no increase in the control group these increases were likely related to the intervention. In addition, correlations were found between skin carotenoid levels and participants’ self-reported fruit and vegetable intakes, BMI, and activity levels.

Because skin carotenoid levels are an objective indicator of fruit and vegetable intakes, the observed increases suggest social norms feedback could be used as a method for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. It would be beneficial to continue to explore the use of social norms feedback as a low-cost strategy for promoting healthy diets among college students and examining its effects on other populations as well.



Included in

Nutrition Commons