142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Prevalence of and factors associated with obesity among college students

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Brian Ready , Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Mikiyasu Hakoyama, PhD , Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI
Being away from home for the first time, many college freshmen experience drastic changes in their daily lives. Poor diet and lack of exercise frequently lead to weight gain and the so-called “Freshman 15.” The current study, based on an online survey conducted in a midsize, Midwestern university, examined the prevalence of overweight and obese population among college students (N = 1,859) with a special focus on how prevalence of obesity change over time.  Also examined include behavioral, personal and demographic factors associated with the participants’ BMI statuses, their sense of adjustment to college life and other health factors, such as drinking and smoking. It was revealed that almost two thirds of the participants belonged to the normal Body Mass Index (BMI) category while one third were overweight or obese; nearly 4% were underweight. Prevalence of obesity increased significantly as the students’ years in college advanced. Factors significantly associated with the participants’ BMI include exercise frequency, attitudes toward healthy living, drinking frequency, self-esteem and gender. Being health conscious, more exercising, and less drinking significantly contributed to lower BMI. Further, men were more likely to be overweight or obese than women. Also, lower BMI was significantly associated with higher self-esteem. Gender specific promotional approaches such as social persuasion and self-monitoring are discussed. Other implications of the findings and ways of combating against youth obesity are also discussed. 

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify prevalence of overweight and obesity among college students Describe changes in college studentsí BMI over time Discuss ways of combatting overweight and obesity among college students

Keyword(s): College Students, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D., am a faculty member at a state university, have authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters, have presented many studies at previous APHA conferences, and have reviewed previous APHA proposals.
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.