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Eat Weight Disord. 2012 Sep;17(3):e157-63.

Examination of weight control practices in a non-clinical sample of college women.

Author information

1
Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. smhayes@temple.edu

Abstract

The current study examined healthy weight control practices among a sample of college women enrolled at an urban university (N=715; age=19.87±1.16; 77.2% Caucasian; 13.4% African American, 7.2% Asian, 2.2% other races). Participants completed measures as part of an on-line study about health habits, behaviors, and attitudes. Items from the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire were selected and evaluated with exploratory factor analysis to create a healthy weight control practices scale. Results revealed that college women, regardless of weight status, used a comparable number (four of eight) of practices. Examination of racial differences between Caucasian and African American women revealed that normal weight African American women used significantly fewer strategies than Caucasian women. Of note, greater use of healthy weight control practices was associated with higher cognitive restraint, drive for thinness, minutes of physical activity, and more frequent use of compensatory strategies. Higher scores on measures of binge and disinhibited eating, body dissatisfaction, negative affect, and depressive symptoms were associated with greater use of healthy weight control practices by underweight/normal weight but not by overweight/obese college women. Results suggest that among a sample of college females, a combination of healthy and potentially unhealthy weight control practices occurs. Implications of the findings suggest the need for effective weight management and eating disorder prevention programs for this critical developmental life stage. Such programs should be designed to help students learn how to appropriately use healthy weight control practices, as motivations for use may vary by weight status.

PMID:
23086250
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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