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Gender, Residence and Ethnicity Affect Freshman BMI and Dietary Habits

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Objectives : To examine relationships between gender, ethnicity, and residency, with factors influencing weight gain in 756 multiethnic college freshmen.

Methods : An online survey obtained participants' height and weight; consumption of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meals; dieting and exercise patterns.

Results : Ten percent of Asians were underweight; most lived off campus. Forty percent of Hispanics were overweight/obese; most lived on campus. After starting college, on-campus students decreased intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meal frequency; off-campus students decreased dairy and dinner frequency (P < 0.001). Few met dietary guidelines.

Conclusions : Moving to campus may contribute to weight gain in some ethnic groups.
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Keywords: ethnicity; freshman weight gain; residence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Department, San Jos State University, San Jos, CA.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • 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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