This study by Rich and Thomas examined several important weight-related issues among the population of college age students. The researchers sought to determine whether body mass index (BMI) differed among students from different ethnic background and what factors stopped college students from obtaining health information regarding healthy nutrition. Rich and Thomas found that BMI did not differ among ethnicities, but the amount of information obtained from health professionals did. Interestingly, African American college students received more of this type of information from professionals.
I strongly agree with the obstacles for college students to obtaining health information. Time, money, and motivation are likely the three culprits blocking many students from seeking and obtaining this valuable information. It seems ironic that even basic information could prevent or alleviate very serious eating disorders, which would be much more costly in time, money, and motivation should they become severe. I would suggest a fourth obstacle of awareness that information is often freely available to students. Many students are unaware that their university, library, or even community health centers have access to a wide array of health materials. These sites periodically, if not regularly, also offer free consultation services related to nutrition and healthy eating behaviors.
My only concerns with this article involve the convenience sample of psychology students. Given this group’s recent exposure to research practices, they are a questionable group to respond honestly and openly. A more diversified sampling of college students would have strengthened the study. A comparative sample of this same age group of individuals not enrolled in college would have also been informative. I also shared a question with the researchers involving what type of nonprofessional information these students might be receiving related to their health. Students of all ages learn a great deal from each other so further investigation of what they are learning from family, friends, and other nonprofessionals regarding eating behaviors would be most interesting. Overall, this intriguing and well-done study furthered my knowledge on ethnic difference and similarities in eating behaviors within this age group.