Stoplight for Eating Right Lindsey Leighton, Lindsey Naylor, McKenna Brown, Kyle Price, Natalie Eriksen
Position Statement • We want dorm students to see healthy food choices as simple, rewarding and just as easy to find as non-healthy choices.
Background • Twenty-nine percent of college students are confused about how to eat healthy (Tsang et al.) • Only 32% of males and 37% of females eat three or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day, according to the 2011 ACHA • Unhealthy eating increases risks for obesity and obesity-related health problems • Obesity-related health problems can raise health care costs • Changing eating habits at a younger age can have a lifetime impact • Targeting freshman college students can cause a lifetime of healthy eating
Who are we reaching? • Students living in the dorms • Focus on incoming freshmen • 65% students in survey were freshmen • Freshmen tend to make up large portion of the dorm population • Many primarily eat in the dining halls • Best opportunity to combat weight gain is early in college career
What do we want them to do? • Behavior Objective: • improve healthy eating of college students on campus through choice of healthy options in dining centers • Knowledge Objective: • increase knowledge of what is healthy vs. what is not
What are they doing now? • As evidenced by epidemic of weight gain, students appear to not be choosing healthy food options
What are they doing now? • Appears that students are open to change • Receptive to idea of labeling healthy options • Likelihood of healthy choice being made increases if it is labeled
Limitations and Barriers to Change • Fast food on campus • Cheap, easy access, coupons • There is no perception of a problem • Contradicting perceptions of self and the problem • Meal plan students use
Marketing Mix 4 P’s
Product • Tangible Product: • Stoplight visual cues on menus of dining hall restaurants • Augmented: free meal • Intangible Product: • Students will gain the knowledge of how to make healthy choices • Health benefits due to healthy eating
Price • Our Product: • Monetary Costs • There is only the indirect cost that students will have to purchase meals • Non-monetary Costs • Will require a small amount of time for students to learn how to use cues • Monetary Benefits • When students purchase 10 meals they will receive one free meal • This program is called “Go Rewards” • Non-monetary Benefits • Students will feel better due to eating healthy • Ability to better control weight gain
Price • Competing Behavior • Monetary Costs • Choosing non-green meals will not qualify students for Go Rewards • The long term effects of eating unhealthy could result in increased medical costs • Non-monetary Costs • Possible unwanted weight gain • Other physical ailments associated with eating unhealthy • Lack of energy • Irregular bowel movements • Etc.
Place • The visual cues will be conveniently located on each dining hall restaurant menu board • Online menus will also contain the same cues • The hope is that the convenience of choosing healthy foods will cause students to make healthy choices more often and dispel the idea that good choices are hard to find
Promotion • Our campaign will be introduced to incoming freshmen at START • Posters will be put up in the dorms and dining halls • All dining hall employees will be trained on how the stoplight cues work in order to explain it to students before they order • We believe that our efforts will reach all dorm students who eat in the dining halls
Strengths • Our understanding of food • Simplicity of the Stop Light Campaign • Alignment with other healthy eating projects around campus • Monetary reward for good behavior
Weaknesses • Variability amongst the target population • Various attitudes towards healthy food • College students don’t see the immediate need for eating healthy • Students fail to see long term benefits • High cost of healthy food • Lack of structured criteria
Opportunities • Time of year, fall START • Freshman stepping out of their parents home for the first time • Healthy eating gaining awareness through the media • We get to influence their food choices
Threats • Previous set behaviors • Tendency to resist change • Presence of unhealthy food in restaurants and the media • Downward turn in the economy = decreased buying power of the target audience
Approval and Support • Be Well – campaign for a healthier OSU • Tara Sanders – UHDS RD • Culinary staff • Employees
Budget (Costs) • Campus wide promotion • Posters • START orientation • Tabling the dining centers (Marketplace West) • New software and installation • Covering free meals for eating Go! meals
Funding • UHDS is an auxiliary and does not receive government funding for their services, at least not directly (student's can use financial aid to cover room and board costs). • Be Well (existing grant money) • Community partnerships
Evaluation • Pre/post surveys • Comparison between green/red meal purchases (one full academic year).
Meeting with Tara • “Better” not “Healthier” • Only green meals listed on the menu, not red or yellow • Punch cards (for those without meal plans)
Criteria for Color-Coding Go! options must meet the following nutritional criteria: Entrees: ≤600 calories ≤600 mg sodium ≤6 grams saturated fat Sides: ≤300 calories ≤300 mg sodium ≤3 grams saturated fat Similar to the guidelines for DHCbut allow for more leeway regarding saturated fat by using a number vs. percentage of calories.