Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Melinda Valliant

Relational Format



College women are at increased risk of developing poor eating habits and disorders due to a higher frequency of dieting and obesity; therefore, due to the large number of women who are active in college sororities, these subgroups warrant significant attention concerning their nutritional knowledge and behaviors. Research points to a need to study sorority women’s eating patterns and diets in relationship to MyPyramid national recommendations for daily food consumption. The purpose of this study was to determine sorority members' frequency of meal consumption versus meals offered at University of Mississippi sorority houses and to identify resulting health outcomes in sorority members compared to their frequency of meal consumption at their sorority houses. Another objective of the study was to identify the main barrier to meal consumption at sorority houses as reported by sorority members. A 24-hour dietary recall and questionnaire about eating behaviors and meal patterns associated with membership in a sorority was given to 72 University of Mississippi Panhellenic Sorority Women ages 18-22 at the time of participation. Next, subjects were weighed and their heights recorded. Using Nutrient Data System for Research software, number of servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy, and fat intake were recorded for each subject. The majority of sorority members studied reported eating six or more meals at their sorority house during the week. Most subjects did not believe their nutritional needs were met through the meals provided at their sorority houses; however, the most frequently reported barrier to meals consumption was “I do not like what is being served at that meal.” Regardless of members’ food preferences and other barriers to consumption, subjects who reported consuming six or more meals during the week did not eat a balanced diet according to the Food Guide Pyramid. Subjects who reported consuming six or more meals per week at their sorority house reported inadequate consumption of fruit, dairy, protein, and fats; however, subjects who consumed fewer than six meals per week at their sorority house reported lower consumption of all food groups analyzed. No statistically significant differences in intake were found between subjects who ate six or more meals per week and those who ate less than six meals per week at their sorority houses. Sorority members who reported consumption of six or meals had higher levels of intake and a lower mean Body Mass Index than those who reported consuming fewer than six meals per week at their sorority houses. The meals served at the sorority houses may not be completely balanced; however, they are likely better than the alternatives. Additional research is needed to determine whether or not sorority houses are offering all components of balanced meals according to MyPyramid Guidelines. It is possible that balanced meals are offered, yet sorority members do not choose to consume each component. Such information may aid in determining the prevalence of the barrier of health-related issues to sorority meal more consumption.



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