Community-Based Designed Pilot Cooking and Texting Intervention on Health-Related Quality of Life among College Students

Makenzie Barr-Porter, Amelia Sullivan, Emma Watras, Caitlyn Winn, Jade McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As emerging adulthood is an important area of life for developing healthful habits, the current study aimed to test the feasibility of a pilot program for improving health-related quality of life (HRQOL), food security, and diet quality among college students. Students 18–26 years old were recruited from two land-grant institutions to participate in an online survey and self-selected to participate in an intervention study. An intervention program was developed by student peers to include (1) a four-session cooking curriculum and a (2) semester-long text message program to share health resources on the relevant college campus. Diet quality, food security, and mentally healthy days were assessed. Baseline to post-program changes were assessed using paired t-tests. Cohen’s d was used to determine effect size estimates. In the full sample (N = 65), “days/month when mental health was not good” and “days/month feeling worried, tense, or anxious” significantly improved (p < 0.05). Dietary quality measures of total short Healthy Eating Index (sHEI) score and total vegetable intake significantly improved throughout the intervention. Subsamples of (1) food-insecure participants (n = 22) and those with (2) dietary quality below the 50th percentile (n = 29) both had positive improvements following the program. Health promotion programs should be formed, adapted, or expanded in an effort to improve health among our next generation of workers. College and university environments should focus on mental health, diet, and food security among their constituents, particularly with regard to those at risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number293
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • college
  • diet quality
  • emerging adults
  • food security
  • mental health
  • nutrition assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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