Hicks-Roof K, Walker K, Osorio D, O’Grady A, Cain M
Dr. Kristen Hicks-Roof | Brooks College of Health | Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
Background: Knowledge and consumption of a variety of whole grains are limited in the college-age population. Immersion into virtual reality simulates one being transported from their current surroundings to a completely new atmosphere.
Methods: A pilot study was conducted to determine if college students would be able to correctly identify various grains while immersed in virtual reality. Participants (n=39) were asked to sample two similarly shaped grains (pearl couscous and whole grain sorghum) while immersed in a virtual reality on-campus cafe. Participant surveys captured demographics, a sensory analysis on grains tasted, history of grain consumption and grain nutrition knowledge.
Results: Participants (females=34, males=5) were mostly juniors (72%). Common grains the participants had previously been exposed to were, oats (97%), white rice (94%), brown rice (92%), quinoa (92%), wheat (82%), and couscous (69%). The least common grains participants had previously been exposed to were, sorghum (15%), spelt (0.7%), kamut (0.5%), teff (0.5%), amaranth (0.2%), and triticale (0%). Only 28% correctly selected at least one of the samples, and only 0.05% selected both correct samples. Only 44% of participants could correctly identify that the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends making half of all grains consumed be whole grains.
Conclusions: This preliminary data shows that our participants are mostly exposed to common whole grains, and their perception of food samples can be obstructed while being in a virtual reality setting. Whole grain knowledge and exposure is limited and should be increased in this subgroup.