College Students’ Judgment of Others Based on Described Eating Pattern

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Background: The literature available on attitudes toward eating patterns and people choosing various foods suggests the possible importance of “moral” judgments and desirable personality characteristics associated with the described eating patterns. Purpose: This study was designed to replicate and extend a 1993 study of college students’ judgments of others based on described dietary fat patterns. Methods: Participants rated male or female peer models described as having low-fat, high-fat, or “good fat” eating habits. Data were analyzed using factorial MANOVA to determine effects of model gender and described eating pattern on two scales: likeability and personal success orientation. Results: The results of this analysis revealed no signifcant overall effect of model gender. However, there was a signifcant overall effect of described eating pattern (F(6, 574)=38.48, p<.01). There were no signifcant model gender by described eating pattern interactions. Low-fat and good-fat male and female models were rated statistically higher on the success orientation scale, but these males were statistically less likeable than high-fat males. Discussion: Perceptions of others, and self-perceptions based on beliefs about others’ attitudes and opinions, are strong influences in the college-age population. Thus, these attitudes may prove to be high barriers to adoption of healthier eating patterns. Translation to Health Education Practice: Understanding such judgments may help health education professionals tailor interventions designed to improve young adults’ eating patterns.


This article was originally published in American Journal of Health Education. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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American Journal of Health Education