Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Department of Public Health and Nutrition


A study was conducted to investigate the dietary practices of university students living in one of the accommodation facilities in the University of Wollongong. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to students at the Weerona College. The questionnaire was designed to collect information on demographic factors, the eating patterns of the students, their attitudes towards diet, the food services provided by the college and dietary intake using a 24-hour recall method. The survey was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (Norusis, 1990) and the dietary recall information was processed with the Diet-1 (version 3) computer package (Xyris Software, 1988 - 1991). Highlights from the results were that breakfast was the most often skipped meal by the students (the mean frequency of eating breakfast per week was 5.5 times, ranging from 0 to 7 times per week). "Lack of quality of food " and "too busy" were the two main reasons for skipping meals. Water, fruit and chocolate were reported as the most common snacks, followed by fruit juice, soft drinks and biscuit / cakes. From the 24-hour dietary recall information, most of the students met the Australian Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) for major nutrients. The mean intakes of protein, retinol, vitamin C, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium were all over 100 percent of RDIs, with particularly high intakes of protein and vitamin C. Some of the participants had considerably low retinol and calcium intakes. In the main, the respondents were satisfied with the food service in the college accommodation. However, many students also expressed their concern about some aspects of the college food service, especially relating to some cooking ways. Recommendations have been made to the college such as lengthening the dinner time, alternating some cooking methods ( less deep fried foods ) and more fresh vegetables and fruits. Because the dietary intakes of the subjects in this study were mainly in line with the recommended amounts, this indicated that the food service at the college appeared to meet the nutritional needs of the university students.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.