226266 Assessing the risk of pathological weight management behaviors: A study of college students

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

A. Serdar Atav, PhD , Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Jennifer Wegmann, MASS , Health and Physical Education, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Sarah Thompson, MASS , Health and Physical Education, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
The college population is a high-risk group for engaging in pathological weight management behaviors (PWMB). Literature suggests that college women are more likely to diet, vomit, use laxatives, or diet pills as a way to manage their weight whereas men use excessive exercising for the same purpose. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that predict college students' likelihood of engaging in PWMB. To this end 943 students were surveyed in a four-year research university in Upstate New York to assess eating, exercise, and weight management habits. There were more males (54.9%) than females (45.1). A majority of the participants were Caucasian and in the 20 to 21 year age group (67.5%). Participants had an average BMI of 24.58 for males and 23.90 for females. Students older than 21 and Caucasian and African American students were more likely to be in the obese or overweight BMI categories. Although BMI was not a good predictor of PWBM, the preoccupation with desire to be thin was. Those who were preoccupied with the desire to be thin were significantly more likely to engage in PWMB. The odds ratios ranged from a low of 1.7 for having used laxatives, to a high of 4.0 for having binged. Among females, the odds ratios were even higher for most PWMB. This presentation will include detailed analyses of PWMB and their relationship to BMI, the desire to be thin, gender, ethnicity, and other factors, and a discussion of proposed interventions base on the findings.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe relationships among BMI, preoccupation with the desire to be thin, demographic and psycho-social variables, and pathological weight management behaviors among college students. 2. Identify factors that predict college studentsí likelihood of engaging in pathological weight management behaviors.

Keywords: College Students, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in community health research for a number of years. My studies have been published and presented. I have led this particular study from its beginning.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.