Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Byrd, Sylvia H.

Committee Member

Fountain, Brent J.

Committee Member

Morse, Linda W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


The obesity epidemic is steadily increasing and affecting all age groups. Obesity rates among young adults are scarcely reported but merit special attention as being overweight during young adulthood will likely result in being overweight or obese throughout adulthood. Because college students are still forming lifestyle patterns, the university setting is ideal for intervention and educating young adults on the importance of developing and maintaining healthy behaviors. This study evaluated whether participation in a 16-week first-year college seminar cooking course increased students’ self-efficacy in food preparation skills and dietary behaviors. Significant changes in food preparation skills were observed between before and after participation (p<0.05) but self-efficacy, overall, did not increase significantly. Institutions of higher education should provide experiential learning opportunities to improve food preparation skills and hence dietary habits of young adults by developing and implementing programs such as first-year seminars focusing on hands-on food preparation basics and techniques.