Effects of Web-Based Self-Reporting: College Students’ Self-Efficacy Regarding Fruit and Vegetable Intake


This study evaluated the effect of an online diet-tracking tool on college students’ self-efficacy regarding fruit and vegetable intake. A convenience sample of students completed online self-efficacy surveys before and after a six-week intervention in which they tracked dietary intake with an online tool. Group one (n=22 fall, n=43 spring) accessed a tracking tool without nutrition tips; group two (n=20 fall, n=33 spring) accessed the tool and weekly nutrition tips. The control group (n=36 fall, n=60 spring) had access to neither. Each semester there were significant changes in self-efficacy from pre- to post-test for men and for women when experimental groups were combined (p<0.05 for all); however, these changes were inconsistent. Qualitative data showed that participants responded well to the simplicity of the tool, the immediacy of feedback, and the customized database containing foods available on campus. Future models should improve user engagement by increasing convenience, potentially by automation.