Changes in body weight, composition, and shape: A 4-year study of college students

a Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Hospitality Management, Auburn University, 101 Poultry Science Bldg, AL 36849, USA.
Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 2.34). 09/2012; 37(6). DOI: 10.1139/h2012-139
Source: PubMed


The objectives of this study were to examine changes in body weight, body mass index (BMI), body composition, and shape in a group of male and female students over the 4-year college period. Anthropometric assessments including height and weight (via standard techniques), body composition (via bioelectrical impedance analysis), and body shape (via 3-dimensional body scanning) were conducted at the beginning of the freshman year and end of the senior year in 131 college students. Four-year changes included significant (p < 0.0001) gains in weight (3.0 kg), BMI (1.0 kg·m(-2)), body fat (3.6%), and absolute fat mass (3.2 kg). Males gained significantly (p < 0.0001) greater amounts of weight, BMI, percent and absolute fat mass, and fat-free mass than females. Weight change ranged from (-)8.7 to (+)16.8 kg. About 70% of the participants gained weight, which averaged 5.3 kg; significant (p < 0.0001) gains in BMI, fat-free mass, absolute fat mass, and percent body fat and significant (p < 0.0005) increases in neck, chest-bust, waist, hips, seat, and biceps circumferences were also observed in this weight gain group. The percentage of participants classified as overweight-obese increased from 18% to 31%. The number of females and males with ≥30% and 20% body fat, respectively, increased from n = 14 to n = 26 (with n = 4 exhibiting normal weight obesity) over the 4-year period. The waist circumference changes were significantly (p < 0.0001) correlated with both weight and percent body fat changes. In conclusion, the increasing prevalence of obesity and normal weight obesity among this college population suggests the need for additional health promotion strategies on college campuses.

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Available from: Karla P Simmons, Mar 19, 2015
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    • "The published studies are consistent in that they all indicate that there is a period of weight gain during the freshman year, although the reported weight gain varies considerably from 1.9 kg (Levitsky et al., 2004) to 0.9 kg (Hovell et al., 1985). Another recent report demonstrated that this weight gain is substantial and permanent, and thus can present serious life-long issues (Gropper et al., 2012a, 2012b). The majority of studies on freshman weight gain have been carried out in the United States (USA). "
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    ABSTRACT: We determined body weight increase in first year Dutch college students. We had the objective to determine whether the awareness of the unhealthy lifestyle raised concerns and willingness to change habits. Methods: Body weight, heartbeat, BMI, body fat percentages, and blood pressure values were collected from 1095 students. Comprehensive statistical analysis was performed on the data. Results: The students had a mean weight gain of 1.1. kg and an average BMI gain of 0.35. Members of a student corps gained significantly more weight (1.6. ±. 3.1. kg) than non-members (1.0. ±. 2.5. kg), while students who are living independently gained an average of 0.5. kg more than students living with their parents ( p<. 0.05). Approximately 40% of the students changed their eating patterns and 30.7% of the students consumed more alcohol. Conclusions: Students experienced hindrance in physical exercise and mental well-being. Students with a high BMI without irregular eating habits were willing to change their lifestyle. However, students who had irregular lifestyles exhibited the lowest willingness to change their eating behaviors and to lose weight. Our study provides insight into means by which adolescents at high risk for weight gain can be approached to improve experienced quality of life.
    12/2015; 2:229-234. DOI:10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.03.008
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    • "First, university campuses are places where diet and exercise patterns typically undergo major transitions, especially because many American adolescents move away from home for the first time when they begin university. Many of these transitions lead to increased obesity risk in both the immediate and the longer term (Morrell et al. 2012; Nelson et al. 2007; Struble et al. 2010), and most students show a significant upward weight trend during their years at university (Gropper et al. 2012; Hoffman et al. 2006; Morgan et al. 2012). University administrators and health services are increasingly concerned with addressing weight gain in student populations, when interventions might be more effective than after students have dispersed and entered the workforce. "

    Human organization 08/2015; 74(3):266-275. DOI:10.17730/0018-7259-74.3.266 · 0.56 Impact Factor
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    • "In three recent weight gain prevention studies in female college students, we assessed both personal dieting history and participants' reports of family weight history. Female college students were chosen for these prevention studies because they are known to be at increased risk for weight gain (Butler, Black, Blue, & Gretebeck, 2004; Gropper, Simmons, Connell, & Ulrich, 2012). Additionally, in order to examine these variables in an unselected sample, a study that did not involve weight gain prevention was also included. "
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