Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Mary Ann Bass

Committee Members

Grayce E. Goertz, William M. Bass, Mary Jo Hitchcock


Food intake patterns, food terminology, food preferences, and food connotative meanings for 354 high school students in Shelby County, Alabama, were studied. The sample was comprised of 82 Blacks and 272 Whites, 164 males and 190 females.

The meal pattern was obtained by the use of three 24-hour recalls. Irregular eating patterns were followed by 148 of the students. Many breakfast combinations were reported. For the noon meal, 60 percent of the students ate in the school lunchroom. More females than males omitted lunch. For the evening meal, the students reported meats, few vegetables or salads and the frequent use of cornbread and iced tea. Snacks mainly consisted of sandwiches, high calorie sweet foods and carbonated beverages.

Terminology for carbonated beverages, selected vegetables and frequency of use in the homes of Blacks and Whites were determined. Whites used more terms for beans, corn, and greens, while Blacks used some carbonated beverage terms more frequently.

Food preference data indicated that rolls, French fried potatoes, fried chicken, iced tea, hamburger and soda pop were chosen "every time" or "most of the time" by 75 percent or more of the students. The least preferred foods were cottage cheese, buttermilk, pork and beef liver. High on the non-recognition list were scuppernongs, cauliflower and poke salad. As determined by Student's t test, Blacks preferred a wider variety of foods than Whites (P < 0.001). Male preferences were for roast beef and game meat (P < 0.001) and female preferences were for lettuce salad and spaghetti (P < 0.01).

An analysis of variance indicated that social class and grade in school accounted for small differences in food preferences and food connotative meanings. Pizza, French fried potatoes and hamburger, high on the preference list, were associated closely with the term young. Different connotative meanings for various foods were noted for Blacks and Whites and for males and females.

Food preferences and food connotative meanings were correlated significantly (P < 0.05) for practically all foods for at least one set of polar terms. Most of these correlations were on the age related polar terms.

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