College students' perceptions of attitudes toward probiotics and probiotic food products

The aim of this study was to determine the perception of and attitude toward probiotic food products among college students. This study used a self-reported survey questionnaire with a random recruited sample of 304 of students from upper- and lower-division classes at CSUN. Data were collected in November 2011 and analyzed with t-test, chi-square, and correlation. The results of this study indicated no significant differences between men and women on (1) how often they consume and (2) how much they know about probiotic food products. In addition, there were no significant differences between men and women on how they defined probiotic food products. Almost half of the participants could not answer the question, "How would you define probiotic food products?" The results also indicated that as participants age, they are significantly more likely to consume probiotic food products (r= .21, p<.01) and hear about probiotic food products (r= .17, p<.01). However, no significant correlation was found between income and consumption of or hearing about probiotic food products. In conclusion, the results indicated a lack of knowledge about probiotic functional food products among the general public, even among educated consumers such as college students. Therefore, it is necessary to make more of an effort to educate the public about probiotic functional food products; there should be more studies to not only educate the public but also further investigate the benefits of these products.