Publications : 2022

Rana ZH, Frankenfeld C, Kennedy E, Bertoldo J, de Jonge E, Cheskin LJ. 2022. Why don’t college freshman meet the US Dietary Guidelines for added sugar, refined grains, sodium, and saturated fat? J Am Coll Health 26:1–11,



The objective of the study was to evaluate how well college students meet U.S. dietary guidelines by examining the mean intakes of nutrients to limit (sodium, sugar, refined grains, and saturated fat), and what factors lead to exceeding the dietary recommendations.


Participants were first-year undergraduate students (N = 269).


Diet was assessed using a DHQ-III and estimated with food source composition tables. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to model variables associated with exceeding the recommendations. One-sample t-tests were performed to compare the cohort with national intakes.


One-third met added sugar guidelines; only 4% met daily refined grains requirements, Fewer than half met saturated fat guidelines, and slightly over half met recommended sodium guidelines. Level of physical activity, race/ethnicity, and living on campus were the important predictors for exceeding recommended intakes.


Most students do not adhere to the U.S. dietary guidelines for nutrients to limit.