Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Kari Pilolla

Advisor Department

Food Science and Nutrition

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Objective: This study aimed to assess the impact of an online introductory college nutrition course that implements evidence-based intuitive eating (IE) concepts and principles on students’ application of IE behaviors. A secondary outcome explored the relationship between student grades and changes in IE behavior implementation. Researchers hypothesized an increase in the average use of IE practices post-intervention.

Methods: This study was a non-randomized pilot intervention using pre- and post-test surveys. Enrolled students completed the intuitive eating scale-2 (IES-2) survey on the first and last days of the 16-week course. Students participated in typical nutrition coursework throughout the semester with the addition of information on IE. Total and subscale average IES-2 scores were calculated and analyzed before and after the intervention.

Results: Weight-neutral, non-diet nutrition education on IE led to improvement in the total average implementation of IE behaviors (p=0.022) in twenty-three college students. No significant changes were detected in the IES-2 subscale measures. A significant positive association was observed between student grades and changes in mean IES-2 scores.

Conclusions and Implications: Based on study findings, adding education regarding IE principles into a basic nutrition course is an effective way to significantly increase total IE habits within an undergraduate student population. Results warrant consideration for standardizing incorporation of weight-neutral education in health courses to improve health behaviors.