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Nutr Res Pract. 2007 Fall;1(3):218-23. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2007.1.3.218. Epub 2007 Sep 30.

Identification of weight-control behaviors practiced by diverse groups of college students.

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  • 1Healthy City Team, Division of Health Promotion, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul 100-739, Korea.

Abstract

THIS STUDY INVESTIGATED: 1) what weight-related behaviors college students practiced; 2) if the behaviors were performed for weight-related reasons; and 3) whether the behavioral practices differed by gender, race, and body weight status. This cross-sectional study used a questionnaire to collect information from a non-probability sample of undergraduate students (n=379; 48% men) recruited from large introductory psychology classes. Chi-square tests were conducted to examine simple comparisons, and multiple logistic regression analyses assessed differences. Male students reported adopting significantly fewer weight-related behaviors than females. Most frequently males increased exercise (69.2%), increased fruit and vegetable consumption (50%), skipped meals (46%), cut out sweets and junk foods (40%), and cut out between-meal snacks (35%). Female students most frequently increased exercise (67.4%), skipped meals (63%), increased fruit and vegetable consumption (62%), reduced the amount of food eaten (60%), and cut out between-meal snacks (51%). Negative behaviors were engaged in by only a few participants. Weight-related reasons were a significant factor for weight-related behavior adoption. Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that gender was consistently and significantly associated with the adoption of weight-related behaviors, while race and weight status were less consistently associated. Findings of this study will be helpful to dietitians who counsel college students. Results of this study may support efforts to bring more comprehensive behaviorally-focused health and nutrition interventions to college campuses.

KEYWORDS:

Health behaviors; body weight; college students; gender; race

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