A large majority of college students surveyed by the Y-Pulse research organization say they are satisfied or very satisfied with campus wellness programs. The study surveyed 200 students enrolled in four-year colleges or universities and also included foodservice professionals, chefs and registered dietitians.

Besides 77% of student respondents giving the thumbs-up to campus wellness programs, 54% had actually used them and students’ ideas of what should be included in their ‘dream wellness programs’ closely matched the features they are finding in existing programs.

Y-Pulse Executive Director Sharon Olson presented the detailed findings from original research with college consumers and foodservice professionals as part of the Wellness Trends on Campus Interest Session at The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) National Conference.

“Topping students’ lists of desired wellness program components were fitness programs,” Olson said. “Coming in second was healthy dining options, followed by stress management. Nutrition education, workshops and weight management components were favored by 54%, 51% and 47%, respectively. The other good news is that the survey’s professional audience also perceived that wellness programs are important to students.”

The majority of foodservice professionals, chefs and dietitians viewed the wellness programs as important or very important to students. In particular, all chefs surveyed thought the programs were important or very important to the students they serve, while 70% of foodservice professionals and 73% of dietitians thought so.

Chefs were even more convinced of the programs’ importance to students’ parents than to the students themselves. Seventy-one percent of chefs rated wellness programs as being very important to parents, while 57% of them said the same for the students. Meanwhile, foodservice professionals and dietitians were less convinced that wellness programs were important to students’ parents, with 39% and 34%, respectively, saying they thought they were very important to that group.

Professional audiences also pointed out two areas as challenges in developing and maintaining wellness programs. A little more than half (52%) said defining measurable objectives was one challenge, while 42% named lack of resources and student interest as a challenge.

Other areas explored in the survey included…

• Insights into where and how easy it is for students to find healthy food and beverages on campus

• The importance students place on nutrition information and labeling

• The foods usually ordered by students at the various food and beverage venues on campus.