BS in Statistics
Karen McGaughey, Soma Roy
The Cal Poly FLASH study is a research project that was developed to assess overall health of college students. Beginning in Fall 2009, data have been collected longitudinally via online surveys and physical assessments on Cal Poly freshmen. Responses from 1520 students from Fall 2009 were used to investigate whether stress and sleeping habits are related to dietary patterns among Cal Poly students.
Factor analysis was used to categorize 33 food frequency variables into two categories – junk food and healthy food. Then, stepwise selection in a general linear model was conducted to identify lifestyle and demographic variables associated with these two food categories.
Statistically significant predictors of junk food consumption were sex, stress, average hours of sleep on the weekend, the interaction between sex and average hours of sleep on the weekend, and eating preference (vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian). When predicting the consumption of healthy food, the variables sex, days of moderate physical activity, days of vigorous physical activity, eating preference, and whether one perceives oneself as an early bird or a night owl were statistically significant. The study results show that how much junk food and healthy food a Cal Poly freshman student consumes per month is related to stress, sleep, and exercise, as well as the student’s sex and eating preference.