Food, Mood, Context: Examining College Students' Eating Context and Mental Well-being

Mehrab Bin Morshed, Samruddhi Shreeram Kulkarni, Koustuv Saha, Richard Li, Leah G. Roper, Lama Nachman, Hong Lu, Lucia Mirabella, Sanjeev Srivastava, Kaya De Barbaro, Munmun De Choudhury, Thomas Plötz, Gregory Abowd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deviant eating behavior such as skipping meals and consuming unhealthy meals has a significant association with mental well-being in college students. However, there is more to what an individual eats. While eating patterns form a critical component of their mental well-being, insights and assessments related to the interplay of eating patterns and mental well-being remain under-explored in theory and practice. To bridge this gap, we use an existing real-time eating detection system that captures context during meals to examine how college students' eating context associates with their mental well-being, particularly their affect, anxiety, depression, and stress. Our findings suggest that students' irregularity or skipping meals negatively correlates with their mental well-being, whereas eating with family and friends positively correlates with improved mental well-being. We discuss the implications of our study in designing dietary intervention technologies and guiding student-centric well-being technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3533390
JournalACM Transactions on Computing for Healthcare
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 3 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • affective computing
  • anxiety
  • college students
  • depression
  • Eating behavior
  • eating context
  • eating detection
  • mental health
  • stress
  • wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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