Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Dept. of Nutritional Sciences]

Peggy Policastro, M.S., R.D.

Instructor and Director, Healthy Dining Team
M.S., Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 1993
Photo: Peggy Policastro.

University students face many stresses and changes throughout their college experience. Many environmental and social forces act on students to behave in specific manners, especially when it comes to food and drinking choices. These influences can have lasting effects on body weight and health. My work and research involves examining dietary patterns of college students. As coordinator of the RU Healthy Dining Team, I interface with Dining Services to provide nutrition education in the dining halls, implement nutrition care plans for students with specialized dietary needs, and advocate for nutritional adequacy of the dining hall menus. Under my tutelage, nutrition undergraduate students are employed to put their didactic knowledge to practice in preparing and presenting various nutrition education materials specific to the college population.

I strive to expose and include undergraduate nutrition and dietetic majors in research they can present as George H. Cook Honors projects and poster sessions at the annual American Dietetic Association/Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition. Examining dietary patterns of college students would not be complete if it did not involve the study of eating disorders on campus. Involvement with the multidisciplinary campus Eating Disorders Treatment Team and Eating Issue Working Group provides many avenues for intervention, education, and research.

Hoffman, D., Policastro, P, Quick, V, and Lee, S. Changes in Body Weight and Fat Mass of Men and Women in the First Year of College: A Study of the "Freshman Fifteen". J Am Coll Health, in press.

Quick V. and Policastro, P.  Impact of RU Healthy Dining Team on Student's Nutrition Knowledge, Attitudes. George H. Cook Honors Project and Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 2004-2005.

Policastro, P. RU Dining Healthy-We Are. 2004 National Association of College and University Foodservice Mid-Atlantic Conference. New Brunswick, NJ.

Shea, S, Ginsburg, S, Quick, V. and Policastro, P. College Snacking at Its Best. 2004 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.  Anaheim, CA.

Dutia, R, Fear, G., Elliott, C. and Policastro, P. Healthy Dining Team: An Innovative Approach to Improving the Nutrition Habits of College Students. 2003 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. San Antonio, TX.