Statistics Department

Degree Name

BS in Statistics




Karen McGaughey and Soma Roy


This analysis is an investigation of changes in Cal Poly students’ eating habits over freshman year. The motivation behind this was an interest in college students’ lifestyles; college is the first time most students live on their own and it can be an important maturation period. College is stressful, exciting, liberating, and terrifying all at the same time. This distinctive life experience, along with my desire to handle big and messy data, led me to this research question.

The response variable analyzed was food consumption and the explanatory variables were: sex, race, quarter, food group, stress, exercise, BMI, sleep quality and quantity. These variables were chosen based on interest in how they could relate to the change in dietary patterns over the first year of college.

After investigating multiple methods, a split-split plot design was used to determine a significant difference in food consumption between fall 2009 and spring 2010. This was done using PROC MIXED in SAS 9.2 ®. The results provided evidence that dairy consumption is significantly different for males compared to females in fall 2009. There was also evidence that dairy and fruit consumption significantly differ for males compared to females in spring 2010. However, this is still a work in progress and many issues were encountered during the analysis.