Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Sarah E. Colby

Committee Members

Katie Kavanagh, Melissa Hansen-Petrik


The objective of this study was to describe thoughts, knowledge, and dietary practices with regard to protein, and how these factors related to current recommendations among college-age males. A convenience sample of non-athlete college-age males (n=47), ages 18-24 years, completed 7 day dietary records (analyzed using NDSR), accelerometer assessments, anthropometric assessments (height, weight, waist circumference, and Bod Pod), and a brief semi-structured interview on protein knowledge and behaviors.

Participants were grouped according to protein intake with 15% consuming less than 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/d), 70% consuming 0.8-1.99 g/kg/d, and 15% consuming ≥2 g/kg/d. Overall, 98% fell within the acceptable macronutrient distribution range of protein. Food sources of protein included chicken and a variety of other meats. Participants were involved in an average of 122.57 ± 116.31 minutes of physical activity per week. Primary sources of information about protein included the internet, specifically body building websites, and, word of mouth. Twenty-five percent of the sample thought they needed “at least one gram of protein per pound” of body weight. The other 75% of the population did not mention a specific amount of protein they thought they should be consuming.

Based on data from this research study, non-athlete college-age males were largely misinformed on protein needs and received their information from unreliable sources including word of mouth and the internet. Contradictions were found between two primary recommendations for protein intake (acceptable macronutrient distribution range versus the Recommended Dietary Allowance). For some of the participants, whether they were found to be consuming appropriate amounts of protein differed by which recommendation system was used in analysis. These conflicting recommendations could result in confusion between professionals and individuals in interpreting protein needs and adequacy.

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