Risk factors associated with overweight and obesity in college students.
UNLABELLED: College obesity is increasing, but to the authors' knowledge, no researchers to date have evaluated risk factors in this population. OBJECTIVE: The authors assessed whether abnormal eating perceptions and behaviors were associated with overweight in college students. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: A sample of undergraduates (N = 4,201) completed an online survey containing demographic questions and the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) questionnaire. The authors stratified participants into normal-weight and overweight/obese groups and evaluated physical activity, EAT-26 score, purging behaviors, and answers to selected overweight screening questions on the basis of body mass index. A modified EAT-26 score of > or = 11 was associated with overweight (p = .016). RESULTS: Compared with normal-weight peers, overweight participants displayed an increased fear of bingeing, preoccupation with food, desire to be thinner, and engagement in dieting behavior. Mean body mass index also increased with age and physical inactivity (p < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Because physical inactivity, disordered eating perceptions, and disordered behaviors are associated with increased rates of overweight and obesity, identification of these risk factors in obese youths may increase understanding of weight loss barriers and facilitate the treatment of adolescent obesity.
Desai, MN; Miller, WC; Staples, B; Bravender, T
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