Should Students Who Live in the Dorm be Required to Purchase a Meal Plan?

Name of Student:

Institutional Affiliation:

Plattsburgh State University of New York (2014). Frequently Asked Questions About Residence Life at Plattsburgh State. New York, NY: Plattsburgh University (Online).

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            This website source provides information on the rationale for meal plans, mainly in regards to areas of nutrition, time management, hygiene, and security. I plan to use this information to examine the issue of meal plans in a real-life university setting.

 University of Iowa (2014). Meal Plan Overview. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa (Online).

This online source provides a description of some basic things about a meal plan that a student should know about, such as how to use it, price, and options available. I find this source useful in examining the various ways in which a meal plan can enable students to manage time, cut costs, and maintain hygiene.

Wing, R., Jeffery, R., Burton, L., Thorson, C., Nissinoff, K. & Baxter, J. (1996). Food provision vs. structured meal plans in the behavioral treatment of obesity.International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 20(1), 56-62.

            This source will be useful because it explores how meal plans can be used as a food provision tool among obese individuals. I intend to use this source to examine the benefits of meal plans for obese students in terms of suggestions on which foods to eat and change of food consumption patterns.

Brown, L., Dresen, R. &Eggett, D. (2005). College students can benefit by participating in a prepaid meal plan. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 105(3), 445–448.

            The argument in this paper is all about recommended intakes among students, which I find useful particularly in relation to the role of meal plans. I intend to use this source to obtain a better understanding of the idea of recommended intakes and how learning institutions can implement them through meal plans.

Zymaris, C. (2014). Associations between sports scheduling, food away from home” and dietary intake in growing girls. Master’s Thesis, The College of New Jersey.

            This paper provides a literature review on how food choices away from home bring about changes in adolescent eating patterns and dietary quality. I intend to use this paper to examine the appropriateness of meal planning as a way of ensuring that there is a positive transformation in dietary quality and eating patterns among college athletes.

Greaney, M., Less, F., White, A., Dayton, S. &Riebe, D. (2009). College Students’ Barriers and Enablers for Healthful Weight Management: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 41(4), 281–286.

The paper addresses a wide range of factors influencing healthful weight management among college students. I intend to use this resource to discover the role of environmental, intrapersonal, and interpersonal dimensions of weight management and how college students can use meal plans to achieve them.

Hakim, N., Muniandy, N. & Danish, A. (2012). Nutritional status and eating practices among university students in selected universities in Selangor, Malaysia. Asia Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2(1), 1-11.

            This paper addresses the roots of poor eating patterns before examining various suggestions on what can be done to address it. I intend to use it to assess the impact of meal plans on students’ nutritional status especially in light of this negative trend towards poor eating patterns.

Kolodinsky, J., Harvey-Berino, J. Berlin, L. Johnson, R. & Reynolds, T. (2007). Knowledge of Current Dietary Guidelines and Food Choice by College Students: Better Eaters Have Higher Knowledge of Dietary Guidance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(8), 1409–1413.

            This article outlines aspects of dietary guidelines and practices and how college students influence them through their food choices. I will use this article to introduce the dimension of dietary knowledge and how it should be utilized properly to facilitate the successful adoption of meal plans in colleges.

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LaCaille, L., Dauner, K., Krambeer, R. & Pedersen, J. (2011). Psychosocial and Environmental Determinants of Eating Behaviors, Physical Activity, and Weight Change among College Students: A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of American College Health,59(6), 531-538.

            This paper examines college students’ eating behavior from the perspective of environmental and psychosocial factors, arguing that interactions of these factors should be into consideration in the establishment of meal plans. I intend to use this resource to explore how meal plans may affect students’ eating behavior and physical activity.

Cousineau, T., Goldstein, M. &Franko, D. (2004). A Collaborative Approach to Nutrition Education for College Students. Journal of American College Health,53(2), 79-84.

            This paper contributes to the debate on college students’ poor eating habits by examining how collaborating with them can enable them to understand this problem and enable them to achieve optimal nutrition. I will use this source to look at the role that a meal plan can play in helping students achieve this goal.

Nelson, M. & Story, M. (2009). Food Environments in University Dorms: 20,000 Calories per Dorm Room and Counting.American Journal of Preventive Medicine,36(6), 523–526.

            This paper addresses the problem of failure by university dorms to abide by national dietary recommendations. I intend to use this reference as a reference point for the opposing side of the debate: the counterargument to the use of meal plans in colleges and universities.

Marquis, M. (2005). Exploring convenience orientation as a food motivation for college students living in residence halls. International Journal of Consumer Studies,29(1), 55–63.

            This paper explains how the idea of convenience can be used to motivate young adults to adopt positive food consumption behaviors in halls of residence. I will use this source to examine various sources of motivation for the use of meal plans. For instance, meal plans enable students to do away with the problem of deciding what to cook every time they want to eat.

Krešić, G., Šimundić, B., Mandić, M. Kenđel, G. Žeželj, S. (2008). Daily menus can result in suboptimal nutrient intakes, especially calcium, of adolescents living in dormitories. Nutrition Research, 28(3), 156–165.

            This article evaluates daily menus being used in Croatian dormitories and their impacts on adolescents with specific reference to suboptimal calcium intakes. I will use this article to show how meal plans, if not properly executed, can lead to nutritional deficiencies among students.

Oz, D. (2006). The Dorm Room Diet: The 8-step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan that Really Works. New York: Newmarket Press.

            This book suggests a diet that university students who live in the dorm should adopt in order to lead healthy lifestyles. I intend to use this book as a source of suggestions on what an ideal meal plan should comprise of in terms of diet requirements.

Evidence Interpretation
“Having meal plans relieves studies of the responsibility of cooking, shopping, and cleaning utensils after meals” (Plattsburgh State University of New York, 2014). This indicates that if students are left to prepare their own means, they will become disorganized and will also fail to observe hygienic standards.
“With a meal plan, you are free to eat whenever you want throughout the semester, with certain limitations” (University of Iowa, 2014). The limitations that come with using a meal plan are an integral part of time management at the university.
“A meal plan indicates which foods a student is scheduled to eat at a specific time, meaning that it is useful for a behavioral treatment program aimed at bringing about weight loss” (Wing, et al., 1996). Weight loss is a serious problem in schools and one way of dealing with it is the introduction of meal plans
“Students who participate in campus meal plans derive nutritional benefits in the form of increased food servings of vegetables, fruits, and meat” (Brown, Dresen, &Eggett, 2005). In the absence of a meal plan, students are likely to find themselves taking fewer vegetables, fruits, and meat, thereby falling short of recommended food intakes.
“Researchers have found that time demands at school have contributed to growing reliance on food that is prepared in school” (Zymaris, 2014). Students need to be subjected to meal plans to ensure that they do not forego some of the meals or overindulge in eating, thereby distorting dietary quality and eating patterns.
“Dietary interventions in colleges should address both environmental and individually-focused components to facilitate eating behavior change (Greaney et al., 2009) Even as colleges encourage students to purchase meal plans, they must endeavor to ensure that students’ individual dietary needs are fulfilled.
“Eating regulation is a renowned approach through which individuals can exert a positive impact on their own health” (Hakim, Muniandy& Danish, 2012). This means that the purchase of meal plans is not an effort in futility as far as students’ health is concerned.
“Dining plans of college students expose them to nutritional knowledge, which they can use to promote positive dietary behavior” (Kolodinsky et al., 2007). Nutritional knowledge plays a central role to the success of college dietary programs that entail the introduction of meal plans.
“Self-regulation and motivation are both important aspects of meal planning for college students” (LaCaille et al., 2011). This indicates that college administrators must look at environmental, social, and personal factors that may affect the decision by students to purchase meal plans.
“Suggestions from students should be put into consideration in the development of nutrition programs” (Cousineau, Goldstein &Franko, 2004). Such a response can be helpful particularly when used by college administrators to determine whether students understand the importance of purchasing meal plans.
“Efforts to improve various aspects of nutrition in university dorms will go a long way in promoting a healthy food environment for students” (Nelson & Story, 2009). This statement reflects a worrying trend whereby every-busy students disregard dietary quality, hence the need for university administrators to introduce aspects of meal planning.
“There is a positive correlation between convenience on the one hand and having variety in one’s diet, deciding what food to eat, and lack of time among university students” (Marquis, 2005). Factors such as lack of time, indecision regarding choice of meals, and the need for variety in the diet make meal planning an important endeavor for colleges and universities, mainly because of their contribution to convenience.
“There is a need for institutional menu planning to be promoted by implementers of menu plans to ensure that all students’ nutritional requirements are met” (Krešić et al., 2008). Putting a menu plan in place is one thing while implementing it in a manner that leads to optimal nutritional satisfaction among all students is an entirely different thing; both aspects should be put into consideration.
“Historically, Americans choose what to eat according to three factors: convenience, consistency, cheapness; this has often led to unhealthy eating habits, as demonstrated by the mushrooming of fast-food chains (Oz, 2006). Colleges and universities provide an excellent platform where this habit of eating unhealthy foods can be dismantled. It may be necessary to assess the role of meal plans in this noble endeavor.

References

Brown, L., Dresen, R. &Eggett, D. (2005). College students can benefit by participating in a prepaid meal plan. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 105(3), 445–448.

Cousineau, T., Goldstein, M. &Franko, D. (2004). A Collaborative Approach to Nutrition

Education for College Students. Journal of American College Health,53(2), 79-84.

Greaney, M., Less, F., White, A., Dayton, S. &Riebe, D. (2009). College Students’ Barriers and Enablers for Healthful Weight Management: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 41(4), 281–286.

Hakim, N., Muniandy, N. & Danish, A. (2012). Nutritional status and eating practices among university students in selected universities in Selangor, Malaysia. Asia Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2(1), 1-11.

Kolodinsky, J., Harvey-Berino, J. Berlin, L. Johnson, R. & Reynolds, T. (2007). Knowledge of Current Dietary Guidelines and Food Choice by College Students: Better Eaters Have Higher Knowledge of Dietary Guidance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(8), 1409–1413.

Krešić, G., Šimundić, B., Mandić, M. Kenđel, G. Žeželj, S. (2008). Daily menus can result in suboptimal nutrient intakes, especially calcium, of adolescents living in dormitories. Nutrition Research, 28(3), 156–165.

LaCaille, L., Dauner, K., Krambeer, R. & Pedersen, J. (2011). Psychosocial and Environmental Determinants of Eating Behaviors, Physical Activity, and Weight Change among College Students: A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of American College Health,59(6), 531-538.

Marquis, M. (2005). Exploring convenience orientation as a food motivation for college students living in residence halls. International Journal of Consumer Studies,29(1), 55–63.

Nelson, M. & Story, M. (2009). Food Environments in University Dorms: 20,000 Calories per Dorm Room and Counting.American Journal of Preventive Medicine,36(6), 523–526.

Oz, D. (2006). The Dorm Room Diet: The 8-step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan That Really Works. New York: Newmarket Press.

Plattsburgh State University of New York (2014). Frequently Asked Questions About Residence Life at Plattsburgh State. New York, NY: Plattsburgh University (Online).

 University of Iowa (2014). Meal Plan Overview. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa (Online).

Wing, R., Jeffery, R., Burton, L., Thorson, C., Nissinoff, K. & Baxter, J. (1996). Food provision vs. structured meal plans in the behavioral treatment of obesity. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 20(1), 56-62.

Zymaris, C. (2014). Associations between sports scheduling, food away from home” and dietary intake in growing girls. Master’s Thesis, The College of New Jersey.

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