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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    • "However, in line with our finding, maintaining or even increasing " exercise units " did not prevent weight gain (4.3 % and 3.4 % in 5 years) in the CARDIA-cohort[25]. In this context, most studies demonstrated that weight gain during the freshman/sophomore year[21,26,27]or the complete college years[8]can be largely attributed to increases of fat mass; however, some studies reported weight gain without changes of fat mass[22,28]. In the present study both cohorts showed significant weight (i.e., body mass) gain (SPS: 1.9 % vs. DES: 3.4 %), the rate of fat and LBM gains differed significantly between groups, however. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Observational studies have consistently reported severe weight gains during the college years; information about the effect on body composition is scarce, however. Thus, the aim of the study was to determine the effect of exercise changes on body composition during 5 years at university. Methods Sixty-one randomly selected male and female dental (DES; 21 ± 3 years., 22 ± 2 kg/m2) and 53 sport (physical education) students (SPS; 20 ± 2 years., 22 ± 3 kg/m2) were accompanied over their 5-year study program. Body mass and body composition as determined via Dual-Energy x-ray-absorptiometry (DXA) at baseline and follow-up were selected as primary study endpoints. Confounding parameters (i.e., nutritional intake, diseases, medication) that may affect study endpoints were determined every two years. Endpoints were log-transformed to stabilize variance and achieve normal distributed values. Paired t-tests and unpaired Welch-t-tests were used to check intra and inter-group differences. Results Exercise volume decreased significantly by 33 % (p < .001) in the DES and increased significantly (p < .001) in the SPS group. Both cohorts comparably (p = .214) gained body mass (SPS: 1.9 %, 95 %-CI: 0.3−3.5 %, p = .019 vs. DES: 3.4 %, 1.4−5.5 %, p = .001). However, the increase in the SPS group can be completely attributed to changes in LBM (2.3 %, 1.1−3.5 %, p < 0.001) with no changes of total fat mass (0.6 %, −5.0−6.5 %, p = 0.823), while DES gained total FM and LBM in a proportion of 2:1. Corresponding changes were determined for appendicular skeletal muscle mass and abdominal body-fat. Maximum aerobic capacity increased (p = .076) in the SPS (1.6 %, −0.2−3.3 %) and significantly decreased (p = .004) in the DES (−3.3 %, −5.4 to −1.2 %). Group differences were significant (p < .001). With respect to nutritional intake or physical activity, no relevant changes or group differences were observed. Conclusion We conclude that the most deleterious effect on fatness and fitness in young college students was the pronounced decreases in exercise volume and particularly exercise intensity. Trial registration NCT00521235; “Effect of Different Working Conditions on Risk Factors in Dentists Versus Trainers. A Combined Cross sectional and Longitudinal Trial with Student and Senior Employees.”; August 24, 2007.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · BMC Public Health
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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: Background: 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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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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. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study expands understanding of how university students use and react to fat-related terms. The study was conducted in three phases: (1) a tool development phase, (2) a survey phase, and (3) an in-depth interview phase. We highlight a few marked trends in attitude towards and use of certain terms and words indicating larger body size, as well as the implications of these trends. Tellingly, some words are considered more negative than others. Perceived negativity significantly impacts how, where, when, and with whom such terms are used. A high degree of awareness that a term is unflattering at best and highly stigmatizing at worst does not appear to result in sensitive use of said term across all social and clinical settings. An important implication of this is that people know fat may be used behind their backs to describe them pejoratively-and regardless of any polite backpedalling in face-to-face confrontations-and this profoundly limits their social health, as well as their potential participation in health-related activities. Thus, in order to truly be effective, university-based health initiatives must not only promote healthy eating and activity behaviors but also must address fat stigma.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Human organization
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