Examining the Weight Trajectory of College Students

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the weight trajectory of students over 4 years of college.

Methods:

Anthropometric assessments were completed at the beginning and end of students' freshman year and the end of senior year to calculate body mass index. Questionnaires assessing weight-related behaviors were completed in senior year.

Results:

Of the original 117 students, 86 remained in the study for 4 years. Body mass index was significantly higher at the end of senior year (mean, 24.84; SD, 4.46) vs the beginning of freshman year (mean, 23.59; SD, 4.01; t[85] = 5.61; P < .001). Weight was significantly higher at the end of senior year (mean, 71.32 kg; SD, 15.60) vs the beginning of freshman year (mean, 66.94 kg; SD, 14.02; t[85] = 6.60; P < .001). Students' mean weight gain was 4.38 kg and the sample increased from 23% to 41% overweight/obese. No significant associations were found between BMI and lifestyle factors.

Conclusions and Implications:

This study suggests that students gain weight throughout college, which highlights the need for weight control interventions to target more than just freshman college students.

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