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College Freshman Stress and Weight Change: Differences by Gender

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Objectives : To examine how stress and health-related behaviors affect freshman weight change by gender.

Methods : Three hundred ninety-six freshmen completed a 40-item health behavior survey and height and weight were collected at baseline and follow-up.

Results: : Average weight change was 5.04 lbs for males, 5.49 lbs for females. Weight gain was related to increased alcohol consumption (P=0.014) in men and increased workload (P<0.001) in women. Weight loss was associated with lower academic confidence at baseline (P=0.009) and peer pressure modified by alcohol increase (P=0.025) in men, and fruit/vegetable consumption at baseline (P=0.015) in women.

Conclusions : Gender-specific approaches to weight management in this population are needed.
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Keywords: college health; obesity; stress; weight gain

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1 Doctoral Student, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.

Publication date: 2008-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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