College of Health Professions (CHP)
Date of Last Revision
Dietetics - Coordinated Program
Number of Credits
Bachelor of Science
Date of Expected Graduation
Background: This study examined the eating philosophy of college students at a public, four-year institution to build upon prior research of intuitive eating (IE), and to guide on-campus programming and services. Questions on whether IE behaviors and attitudes would differ between students pursuing health and non-health-related careers were also considered.
Methods: The Intuitive Eating Scale-2 (Tylka and Kroon Van Diest, 2013) was replicated into a 33-question Qualtrics survey, and participation was solicited via email. A total of 109 usable surveys were collected with respondents identifying predominantly as female (64.22%), Caucasian (80.73%), and pursuing degrees in disciplines outside of health professions (71.56%).
Results: Mean IE score was 3.39 (SD=0.48) out of a possible score of 5, aligning with prior research using the IES-2. Total score was significantly higher in students pursuing a health-related degree versus those who were not (t(107)=2.117, p=0.037), and for students studying dietetics, specifically (t(107)=2.626, p=0.010). IES-2 scores did not differ significantly by gender, or between Caucasian and Non-Caucasian respondents.
Conclusion: Higher scores on the IES-2 indicate that a person is more of an intuitive eater. Students pursuing health-related degrees were found to be more intuitive eaters compared to students of other majors. Future research should investigate if this trend holds true in more diverse samples and if IES-2 scores change if IE is incorporated into undergraduate health professions courses. Additionally, future research exploring racial differences in IE behaviors and attitudes are warranted.
Honors Faculty Advisor
Imhoff, Kirsten; Seher, Christin PhD, RDN, LD; and DeBois, Kristen PhD, "Exploring Intuitive Eating Behaviors and Attitudes among a Sample of College Students" (2020). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 1181.