Eating Regulation and Residency Over the First Two Years of College: Associations with Body Mass Index, Weight, and Percent Body Fat in College Students
Type of Degreethesis
Nutrition and Food Science
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Objective: To determine if eating regulation behaviors and residency were associated with body mass index (BMI), weight, and/or percent body fat in male and female students over the first two years of college. Subjects: Of the 535 recruited participants from two cohorts that began the study, 342 participants (64%) returned at the end of the sophomore year for re-assessment; 328 participants (215 females and 113 males) were included in the statistical analyses. Methods: Anthropometric assessments including height and weight (via standard techniques) and body composition (via bioelectrical impedance analysis) were conducted two to three times during both the freshman and sophomore year. Eating regulation behaviors also were assessed at each time point using the Regulation of Eating Behavior Scale. Results: Both gender and residency effects were found. Significant negative associations between autonomous eating regulation and BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat were shown in females but not in males. In females, higher BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat at the end of the second year of college were found in those with low intrinsic motivation, low identified regulation, and high amotivation, while lower BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat were associated with high levels of intrinsic motivation, high levels of identified regulation, and low levels of amotivation. Significant positive associations between controlled eating regulation and BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat were found in those living off-campus, but not on-campus. In those living off-campus, higher BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat at the end of the second ii year of college were discovered in those with high levels of amotivation and high levels of external regulation while those with low levels of amotivation and low levels of external regulation had lower BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat. In males with high levels of introjected eating regulation, those living off-campus had higher percent body fat versus males living on-campus. Conclusions: Specific eating behaviors during the first two years of college influence BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat in females. Residency, particularly off-campus residency, impacts BMI, weight, and/or percent body fat in those with specific eating behaviors. Such findings may be useful for the inclusion in university programs focused on college student health-preventing both obesity and disordered eating/ eating disorders in college students.