UMass Living Laboratory

UMass Living Laboratory


Health and Wellness is an area of increasing importance, leading UMass Dining to partner with the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Dr. Lisa Tory to conduct a comprehensive study on the effects of healthy eating and academic performance. 

The UMass Healthy Campus Study recruited first year students (Spring 2017) living on campus with a meal plan. Data collection included demographic, lifestyle, food frequency, anthropometric, and clinical measurements along with biological assessments. 

Our research shows a correlation between consuming less added sugar thus resulting in a higher GPA. Data shows that as fruit and vegetable variety increases, so does GPA. In particular, a dark green vegetable intake of 5 or more servings per week, equates to a higher GPA. Less added sugar, lower doses of caffeine intake with an increased consumption of plant-based food, fiber, dark green veggies and fruit and vegetable variety; all result in a higher GPA. Luckily, making the healthy choice on campus the easy choice is simple as we work to position fruits and vegetables at every register, emphasize vegetables at all dining locations, note portion size and are avid supporters of “eating a rainbow.”


Living Laboratory Kitchen

The new Worcester Commons conducts nutrition and academic performance studies, culinary recipe and menu ideation sessions, product research and development. UMass Dining hosts special events, trainings, and monthly RSO and internal department showcases and trainings. We will also have this open as a service area to serve some of our made to order/customizable food options. This kitchen will allow students to have a greater interaction with cooking and learning more about different menu dishes they normally may not experience.