Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Georgianna Mann

Relational Format



Maintaining a healthy workforce can help an employer to save money in the long run, due to factors such as fewer health-related absences and higher employee productivity. Obesity, a disease with many factors, is accompanied by many comorbidities. Food and beverage choices can play a strong role in the development of obesity. The purpose of this study was to explore factors that influence staff eating behavior in a large university in the Southeastern United States, using a qualitative research design. Additionally, staff members provided possible solutions to improve the eating environment on the University’s main campus. Using a structured question guide, three focus group discussions were conducted consisting of 3 male and 9 female university staff members. NVivo12 Pro was used for data analysis. Data were coded by two researchers to yield an acceptable intercoder reliability coefficient. Staff members reported that they are mainly influenced by a personal will to make healthy choices, incentives, and food presentation. Additionally, they stated that it is difficult to consistently choose healthy options on campus due the lack of availability on campus or convenient options. Recommendations from staff included more healthy options, education, and more convenient methods of procurement, such as grab and go and delivery. This is the first study of its kind that specifically focuses on staff members, rather than faculty members or all employees at a university. This study may inform future campus policies that reflect the needs and desires of staff members. By tailoring policies and interventions towards the requests of the staff members, known needs may be met, which the university will subsequently benefit from.



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