Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Beth Senne-Duff


Heather Frazier


Ana C. Vallor


College students with high stress levels are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, which may negatively impact their health. During COVID-19, college student’s lives were disrupted on multiple levels. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between dietary intake, perceived stress, food insecurity, sleep, screen time, and physical activity among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. College students at the University of the Incarnate Word (N=154) completed an online survey to assess dietary choices (Dietary Screener Questionnaires (DSQ) in the NHANES 2009-10: DSQ), food insecurity (6-item Short Form of the US Household Food Security Survey), stress (Perceived Stress Scale-10), physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form), screen time, and sleep. Students self-reported demographic information. Independent t-test, ANOVA test, multiple-linear regression, and Sobel test were used to analyze the data. Males consumed significantly more added sugar, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables than females (P < .001). Higher levels of stress (P < .05) and less intense physical activity (P < .05) were significantly related to a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. Food insecurity was significantly related to greater stress levels (P< .05). Finally, regression models explained approximately 13.5% of consumption of food and vegetables. The higher college students perceived stress scores, the more likely they are to consume less fruits and vegetables. Programs aimed at reducing stress and its potential causers, providing resources for food insecure students, promoting physical activity, and enhancing nutritional education can help improve college students' diet and life quality.