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					                      Overweight & Obesity
What are the leading causes of weight gain amongst Rowan students?

     Ian Doyle, Krystina Gorman, Sarah Cohen, Alexa Gibson
                        Professor DiRosa
                   Consumer Health Decisions
                         Research Project

        The United States is currently facing an overweight and obesity epidemic. Recent studies

have shown startling growth in obesity trends amongst adolescents. It is most important to

identify the leading causes of weight gain among college students in order to prevent or

discontinue obesity amongst college students in the future. After all, these students will set an

example for the next generation. This study examined the relationship between college lifestyle

habits and weight gain among Rowan University students. One hundred randomly-selected and

anonymous Rowan University students were surveyed. In addition to asking students if they have

gained weight in college, the survey explored factors that may affect weight gain, such as alcohol

consumption, eating habits, physical activity, time management, motivation, and metabolism.

Research showed that students gained a significant amount of weight during their college

experience. When asked about their weight gain, students answered laziness, alcohol

consumption, and a lack of time to eat healthy as their most influential factors of their weight

                                            Chapter 1

       In preparing to make the transition from high school to college most students are warned

about the common weight gain that is associated with this transition. It has become a

phenomenon known as the “freshman 15”. The most commonly observed weight gain is during

freshman year of college, however, many students continue to gain weight throughout their

college years. It is obvious that along with the changeover from high school to college is a

lifestyle change; but the question to be researched is “What are the main factors causing weight

gain amongst college students?”

       Obesity has become somewhat of an epidemic throughout the United States. It is most

important to prevent or discontinue obesity in the college students of America. After all, these

students are our future and will set the example for the next generation. “Currently, two thirds of

US adults are and more than 15% of US adolescents are obese. Between 1991 and 1997, the

greatest increase in obesity was found among 18- to 29-year-olds (7.1% to 12.1%) and those

with some college education (10.6% to 17.8%). By 2001, the prevalence of obesity among 18- to

29-year-olds further increased to 14% and 21% among those with some college education.”

(Haung et al., 2003 p.83) The young adult population is becoming increasingly more obese every

year. Research must be done to identify the main causes of this problem in order to either

decrease or, hopefully, end obesity amongst college students in America.

       Exploring and surveying the obvious factors that would affect weight gain such as

drinking and eating habits, physical activity, smoking, and genetics will eventually allow a

conclusion to develop as to what factors are the most important in the growing trend in obesity

amongst the college population. It is important to restore our young adults to a healthy weight

and lifestyle; otherwise the obesity will control and therefore depreciate our country.
                                       Research Question

What are the leading causes of weight gain amongst Rowan students?

                                   Significance of the Problem

     Since there is such a growing trend of overweight and obesity in our country, it’s important

to determine the specific factors that influence weight gain in college students. As stated

previously, researchers have found the greatest increase in obesity among 18- to 29-year-olds

and this trend was significantly higher amongst those with some college education. This research

shows a 50% increase in obesity prevalence amongst college students by 2001. It is clear that

college students seem to be at a higher risk of becoming obese. It is important to not only assess

the health of Rowan's student population, but also identify the leading causes of weight gain of

Rowan University students. Evidence showing unhealthy traits linked to current overweight and

obesity trends amongst Rowan’s student population should be taken seriously. This is especially

true because overweight and obesity can result in serious health problems. Being able to

pinpoint the source of these extreme growing rates can help us prevent and, hopefully, stop this

epidemic here at Rowan University.
                                           Chapter 2
                                      Review of Literature

Alcohol Use, Eating Patterns, and Weight Behaviors in a University Population

       In 2004, Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota mailed a 10-page

anonymous survey to a random-sample of enrolled college students. Of the 6000 surveys mailed

to students, 3206 were completed and returned with the consent to use the information in the

study. In this cross- sectional study, Nelson, Lust, Story, and Ehlinger (2009) researched

associations between alcohol, alcohol-related eating, and weight gain. (Nelson et al, 2009 p.227)

       Results of the survey showed that binge drinking was associated with poor diets,

unhealthy weight control, body dissatisfaction, and sedentary behavior. Alcohol-related eating

was associated with an increased risk of becoming overweight/obese. The study also showed

that this relationship between alcohol and unhealthy behavior was unaffected by age or year in

school. (Nelson et al, 2009 p.228)

       This study concluded that university students are at a high risk for poor health behaviors,

such as, binge drinking, weight gain, poor diets, and unhealthy weight control. Researchers

believed college students were sent mixed messages about health promotion strategies. For

examples students received advice to eat while drinking to avoid negative consequences of

alcohol, while also being advised to avoid late night snacks. The researchers recommend

effective health promotion strategies to prepare students to deal with the issues of weight gain in

college. (Nelson et al, 2009 p.236)

Assessing Overweight, Obesity, Diet, and Physical Activity in College Students

         In the spring of 2001 and spring 2002, 736 college students aged 18-27 completed a

cross-sectional survey given by the University of Kansas. These students completed a smoking
behavior survey, but were the asked to fill out a questionnaire on diet and physical activity as

well. These students were given a small compensation for their time and effort. (Huang et al.,

2003 p. 83)

         The authors were very clear in their assessment of BMI, diet, and physical activity.

The questionnaire defined overweight and obesity differently amongst different age groups. For

the participants age 19 and under, those ≥ 85th BMI percentile were classified as overweight,

while those ≥ 95th BMI percentile were classified as obese. For those age 20 and older,

overweight was classified as having a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m² and obese was classified as having a BMI

≥ 30 kg/m². Students were asked to check off the servings of fruits, vegetables, and dietary

fibers each student ate per week. To assess physical activity, the students were asked three

questions; 1) How many of the past 7 days they engaged in at least 20 minutes of exercise or

sports activities that resulted in sweat and heavy breathing? 2) How many of the past 7 days they

engaged in exercises to strengthen or tone muscles? 3) How many days in the past 7 they

participated in a physical education class? (Answers ranged from 0 to seven days). (Huang et al.,

2003 p. 84)

         Results found that approximately 26.5% of students surveyed were overweight or

obese. Also students averaged less than the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per

day. Students fell drastically short in the recommended physical activity levels. In fact, 16.1%

of students reported no physical activity. (Huang et al., 2003 p. 85)

         After conducting the survey, the authors came to some conclusions. As for the BMI

levels, the study concluded that further research should done to show the effects of these BMI

levels. The study went on to conclude that while many of our college students are healthy, they

do not receive enough fruits and vegetables. Also, those who were overweight/obese received

significantly less intake of fruits and vegetables compared to other college students. Finally, the
study concluded that many college students did not meet recommended standards, a trend which

seemed to become worse with age. Therefore, interventions in this population are suggested.

(Huang et al., 2003 p. 85)

College Students' Motivation to Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

        Data for this study was collected from fall 2003 to spring 2005 at a US Midwestern

public university. Students completed the study at the student health center, under the

supervision of a trained study coordinator and the university's physician-in-chief. 300

anonymous university students between the ages of 18 and 24 took this cross-sectional survey.

The goal of this study was to identify the motivational factors related to fitness. The study also

examined the different motivational factors between gender and weight status. A convenience

sample was taken of 102 males and 198 females. They were recruited through

brochures/pamphlets/flyers, campus health fairs, staff, health care providers from the health

center, media, e-mail, in-class announcements, and word of mouth. The students were given $30

for their time. (Furia et al., 2009 p. 256)

      In this study, BMI was calculated using the standard formula. The survey assessed gender,

race, age, smoking status, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors in achieving and

managing a healthy weight. Nineteen motivational items were given to measure on a 7 point

Likert-type scale (0 to 6, not true to totally true). (Furia et al., 2009 p. 257)

        After the results of the survey were calculated 6 different factors seemed to affect healthy

weight goals. In the intrinsic motivation section, the top two responses were "I feel very tense

about trying to maintain a healthy weight" followed by "I think that trying to maintain a healthy

weight is boring" as a close second. Under the self-efficacy section, more students chose "I put a

lot of effort into maintaining a healthy weight" than "I enjoy trying to maintain a healthy weight

very much." In the extrinsic section, most students said "I try to maintain a healthy weight so
that I will not look too flabby or fat.” with "People who maintain a healthy weight are a lot more

attractive than those who do not" as a close second. Under the Peer Pressure section a majority

of the people chose "My friends tell me that I should maintain a healthy weight." (Furia et al.,

2009 p. 259)

       Clearly this study shows some very revealing information about what motivates college

students to be fit. As shown, students feel very tense and bored when maintaining a healthy

weight. Also, the survey revealed that college students felt maintaining fitness was not as

rewarding as the effort involved. Extrinsically, we see that college students maintain a healthy

weight to appear more attractive to their peers. Males and normal weight students showed higher

motivation than females and overweight students. This study concludes that our society needs to

find a way to intrinsically motivate young adults to maintain a healthy weight, and we must

focus on motivating females and overweight students to see a significant change. (Furia et al.,

2009 p. 261)

Differences in Dietary Patterns Among College Students According to Body Mass Index

       The authors surveyed 557 undergraduate students aged 18-56 years of age. The purpose

of this survey was to assess weight status, health behaviors, and dietary variety. To achieve this,

they used body mass index (BMI) to divide students into 4 weight categories: underweight (BMI

< 19 kg/m2), healthy weight (19 kg/m2 to 24.99 kg/m2), over-weight (25 kg/m2 to 29.99

kg/m2), and obese (> 30 kg/m2). (Brunt et al., 2009 p. 629)

       The study found approximately 35% of respondents overweight or obese and 8% were

underweight. (Brunt et al., 2009 p. 630) Among the weight categories, the authors observed

significant differences in diet. Overall, 33% of the students consumed 1 fruit in 3 days. The

authors found no differences among the weight categories related to eating fatty, sugary snacks.

14% of students in the study smoked. However, fewer students in our study than in others
reported consuming alcohol. The authors claim that may be due to the fact that alcohol was not

permitted on campus and because many students lived on campus, they did not consume alcohol.

In addition, 75% of the students were under the age of 21, which may have deterred some

students from drinking alcohol. The study concluded that college administrators should create

health promotion and skill-building programs to improve students' diet variety. (Brunt et al.,

2009 p. 633)

Perceptions of Body Weight, Weight Management Strategies, and Depressive Symptoms

Among US College Students

        Data was collected from the 2006 National College Health Assessment. The assessment

received data from 97,357 college students across America. The assessment focused on

students’ body weight perceptions, weight loss strategies, and feelings of depression. The

purpose of the study was to determine whether or not inaccurate body weight perception predicts

unhealthy weight management strategies and to determine the extent to which inaccurate body

weight perception is associated with depressive symptoms among US college students. (Harring

et al., 2010 p. 43)

        The study found that females with inflated body weight perceptions were significantly

more likely to engage in unhealthy weight management strategies and report depressive

symptoms than females with an accurate body weight perception. Men with inflated body

weight perceptions were not likely to engage in unhealthy weight management strategies. In

fact, we saw men with high BMI’s want to become bigger. This is most likely to weightlifting

and becoming stronger, while women with high BMI’s took drastic measures such as vomiting

and weight loss pills to lose weight. (Harring et al., 2010 p. 45)

        The study concluded that college women are concerned with their weight and will take

action to be seen as slim. The study also encourages colleges to focus more on interventions
targeting both diet and physical activity while also promoting positive body image, especially in

women. (Harring et al., 2010 p. 48)

Selected Health Behaviors That Influence College Freshman Weight Change

      In this study, Kasparek, Corwin, Valois, Sargent, and Morris investigated the effect of

physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, and alcohol use for 6 months in college freshman.

They used a cross-sectional study which involved administering a Web-based survey. According

to the article, all first year Winthrop University students were eligible to participate in the study.

They sent all freshman emails with the web-based study in both fall and spring semesters of

2002. There were 193 students that completed both studies and qualified as a participant in the

study All participants were first year freshman whose ages ranged from 17-19. There was a $50

cash prize for three randomly selected students who participated in the survey. (Kasparek et al

2008 p. 438)

      Before the start of the study, the groups differed in gender and race. 24 males and 169

females were involved in the study. Because the number of females is much higher than the

number of males, the results might be skewed and be more based off the females. The study

involved mostly students that lived on campus and had university meal plans. (Kasparek et al

2008 p. 439)

       The study showed that 57% of the participants gained weight. The mean weight gain was

7.1 lbs. There was also weight loss reported by 23.8% of participants (Kasparek et al., 2008 p.

439). Most respondents stayed in the same activity level they started with at the beginning of the

year. Respondents who reported never consuming alcohol decreased nearly 8 percent. At the

beginning of the study, 87.95% of participants met criteria for adequate intake of fruits and

vegetables, but at the follow-up survey, it decreased to 79.9% meeting criteria for adequate

intake of fruits and vegetables, but this decrease was not associated with weight (Kasparek et al.,
2008 p. 440).

The results showed that people that are overweight are becoming more overweight and the

higher a person’s BMI level is, the less activity they get, increasing the chance of weight gain.

The researchers reported that the majority of college students were inactive, which is a crucial

behavioral choice for college freshman. (Kasparek et al., 2008 p. 439) The researchers concluded

that educators and healthy-lifestyle promoters need to take a stronger role. The health promoters

and health educators must assist college students in finding physical activities that are enjoyable

and sustainable in order to maintain lifelong fitness. (Kasparek et al., 2008 p. 443).

The 'Freshman 5': A Meta-Analysis of Weight Gain in the Freshman Year of College

       A meta-analysis was conducted in November 2008. The analysis focused on articles

published in English scientific journals between 1985 and 2008 available on the MEDLINE,

Web of Science, and PsycINFO databases and excluded studies of weight change over periods

beyond freshman year. The objective of this study was to use available research to estimate the

amount of weight gained by freshman during their first year of college. Another objective of this

study was to identify potential predictors of the freshman weight gain phenomenon. (Vella-Zarb

et. al, 2009 p. 161)

      There were 24 different journals that were analyzed in this study. The factors that were

taken out of these articles were 1) sample size 2) whether or not a significant weight change was

found 3) how much weight was gained 4) duration of the study 5) gender composition of study

6) reporting method used to assess weight gain 7) predictors of weight gain. (Vella-Zarb et. al,

2009 p. 162)

      The sample size in these 24 journals was 3,401 (84.5% were female and 15.5% male). The

average duration of the studies was just over 6 months. 17 out of the 24 studies measured height

and weight where the others used self-reports. Only two of the 24 articles concluded no
significant weight change. (Vella-Zarb et. al, 2009 p. 162) The overall mean gain from the other

studies was 3.86 pounds. Apart from the 2 studies that said there was no weight gain the other

studies submitted that they all found weight gain in their students. The smallest weight gain in

the journals was 1.6 pounds and the largest was 8.8 pounds. (Vella-Zarb et. al, 2009 p. 164) The

researchers concluded from this study that freshman year is very vulnerable for students to gain

weight. However, it may be more realistic to call the weight gain the "Freshman 5". (Vella-Zarb

et. al, 2009 p. 165)

The Relationship between Lifestyle and Campus Eating Behaviors in Male and Female

University Students

      132 participants (38 male and 94 female, ages 18 to 22) were sampled by convenience

from a Canadian university undergraduate population. Students were given a questionnaire by a

physical education instructor. (Jackson et al., 2009 Methods)

      The 2-page questionnaire was developed based on a questionnaire piloted by 25 physical

education students in their fourth-year. The questionnaire was critiqued and revised by two

experts in the area of behavioral medicine and health promotion. (Jackson et al., 2009

Questionnaire Development)

      The questionnaire consisted of two main sections: eating behaviors and lifestyle factors.

Lifestyle factors included place of residence, way of getting to campus (walking, cycling,

driving, public transit, or other), total budget for food each week, hours spent studying in a week,

commute time to campus one-way, time spent on campus per day, and physical activity pattern.

These questions defined the amount of physical activity done per week that elevated the heart

rate as often, sometimes, or never. (Jackson et al., 2009 Questionnaire Development)

       Eating behaviors included money spent on campus for food per day, frequency breakfast

is bought on campus in a week, frequency lunch is bought on campus in a week, frequency
supper is bought on campus in a week, number of times fast food is consumed in a week, number

of times one packs a lunch during the week, number of servings of caffeine per day, number of

servings of water per day, and the number of servings of alcohol per week. Serving guidelines

were provided following all questions. (Jackson et al., 2009 Questionnaire Development)

       The main results of the study showed that students who lived at home drank less alcohol

then students that lived on campus. It also showed that students that lived at home had healthier

eating behaviors. The researchers concluded the stability of an in-home environment positively

affects eating behaviors. (Jackson et al 2009 Significance) The individuals who reported being

highly active, ate less fast food than those students who participated in little or no physical

activity. The study showed that habits are influenced by availability of healthy foods on campus.

Based on the results of the study, researchers concluded that campuses should a stable living

environment as well as provide more nutritious food. (Jackson et al., 2009 Discussion)

                                            Chapter 3


      The study was conducted by having the subjects complete a survey (see appendix A). A

person was eligible for this study as long as they were Rowan University students (Both full and

part time students). Each survey was randomly handed out without regard to gender, race, age,

or ethnicity. Also, both commuter and residential students were included in the study. Students

filled out the surveys anonymously.

Data Collection:

The data was collected through a survey. In the survey, students answered three different types

of questions; their demographical information, behavior, and attitudes towards the topic. The

survey consisted of mostly fixed choice questions like multiple choice or simple yes/no
questions. There were also two open-ended questions in order to determine the student’s

thoughts on the “freshman 15” and their choices of exercise and eating habits. The survey

mainly focused on the habits contributing to weight change during the transition into college and

while at college.


                     9/24/10                                       Rough Draft Survey
                     9/26/10                                         Revise Survey
                    10/30/10                                          Start Ch. 1-3
                     11/1/10                                          Finish Ch. 1-3
                    11/22/10                                  Hand Out Surveys at Library
                    11/24/10                                  Hand Out Surveys at Library
                     12/4/10                                         Revise Ch. 1-3
                     12/4/10                                        Calculate Results
                     12/5/10                          Compare Results To Our Research Question
                     12/6/10                                         Create Charts
                     12/7/10                       Finish Ch. 1-5 w/ out Timeline or Final Discussion
                     12/8/10                               Finish Timeline & Final Discussion
                     12/9/10                                    Finalize Research Paper
 Please help up determine the leading causes of weight gain in college. This survey is strictly for Rowan
 students. We are surveying 100 people in order to collect information for a research paper based on this
topic. To help us please answer these questions truthfully. Your answers will be confidential. Thank you!

I. Personal Info:

Grade Level: ________                                   College Athlete:         Yes      No

Age: ________                                           Commuter:         Yes      No

Major: ______________                                   Meal Plan:        Yes      No

Gender:      M      F

Please circle one answer:
II. Diet & Exercise

How much weight have you gained transitioning from high-school to college?

a. 0-5lbs               b. 5-10lbs              c. 10-15lbs             d. 20lbs or more

In highschool, how many meals did you eat a day?

a. 1           b. 2             c. 3            d. 4            e. 5

In college, how many meals do you eat a day?

a. 1           b. 2             c. 3            d. 4            e. 5

In highschool, how many minutes of physical activity were in your day?

a. 0-10        b. 10-20         c. 20-30        d. 30-60        e. 60-120
In college, how many minutes of physical activity are in your day?

a. 0-10      b. 10-20     c. 20-30      d. 30-60    e. 60-120

In highschool, how many days per month were you consuming alcohol?
a. 0        b. 1         c. 2        d. 3        e. 4 or greater

In college, how many days per month are you consuming alcohol?
a. 0         b. 1        c. 2        d. 3         e. 4 or greater

III. Your opinion on college weight gain:

Please circle the LETTER of the top 3 reasons you think there is generally a
weight gain noticed between highschool and college students:

   a. Metabolism slows with age

   b. Less time to eat healthy (fast food)

   c. Less physically active due to time

   d. Less physically active due to laziness with age

   e. Meal plans allow all you can eat, everytime you eat

   f. Consuming more alcohol in college

   g. Eating late at night in college

   h. Consuming more snack foods in college

If you noticed a weight gain in transitioning to college, explain what you think
caused this.

Thank you for your time! Your information is important to us!!!

Figure 1
                           Public Relations                                 Applied           American Studies
                                  2%          Declared Majors Sociology                 Athletic
                                              Pyschology RTF   Accounting               Training
                   Political Science
                                                  5%     2%        5%                     2%
      Math                6%                                                                     Biology
       5%                                                                                            2%
                 Nursing                                                                  Business
                   5%                                                                       7%
 Management                                                                                      6%
   Systems                                                                            Elementary
      1%                                                                               Education
  Liberal Arts                                           HES
      3%                                                 22%
            History                                                                            English
                                                                                      Geography 4%
        Higher Ed                                                                        1%
     Athletic training

        This graph shows the different majors of our participants. Health & Exercise Science

majors are the largest group. This is due to the fact that HES majors were accessible for our

group. This graph shows that our selection process was fairly neutral.
Figure 2

                                     Year at Rowan

                                     Senior        11%



              This graph shows the grade level of the students that participated in our study.

The graph shows that most of our participants were at the Sophomore and Junior level.

Figure 3


                                     Female          Male
                                      56%            44%

              This graph shows the gender population of our participants. The graph shows that

we had more females participate in our survey.
Figure 4

                                             Age Range
                           18    19     20     21   22    23     24   25   26+

                                             5%          10%




       This graph shows the age range of the participants of our study. This graph shows that a

majority of our participants were between the ages 19 and 23 years old.

Figure 5


                                Campus                   Commuter

       This graph shows the where our participants live. We surveyed more commuters, than

on-campus residents.
Figure 6

                         Participate in College Athletics


               This graph shows how many college athletes participated in our study. The graph

shows that we had more non-athletes participating in our study than athletes.

Figure 7

                                         Meal Plan

                                           No Yes
                                          57% 43%

       This graph shows how many students have meal plans. More students do not have meal

plans. This is to be expected in this population as we have more commuters than on campus

Figure 8

                        Weight Gain Amongst Rowan Students

                                          20+ lbs
                                           15%0-5 lbs
                                       10-15 lbs 37%
                                            5-10 lbs

        This graph shows how much weight gain each participant has experienced since they

were in college. There is significant weight gain amongst this population. Most students fell

into the 0-5 lb weight gain group. That makes sense as students who did not receive weight gain

also fell into this group.

Figure 9

                        Meals per Day High School vs College
                                   Meals in High School     Meals in College

                                                 49    46

                              18    16                            19
                2       4

                    1          2                   3                4           5

        This chart shows the amount of meals eaten per day in both high school and college. The

amount of meals stays generally the same among this population. Most students eat 3 meals per

Figure 10
                                         Alcohol Consumption:
                                         High School vs College


                                                                               High School Students
                       10                                                      College Students

                                0        1        2         3       4+
                            Nights per Week w/ at least 1 Alcoholic Beverage

       This graph compares the drinking habits of students before they were in college to after

they entered college. Our graph shows that most high school students drank 2 or less nights a

week. The trend for these same students has changed since entering college. Most students now

drink at least 2 nights a week, and there is a significant increase in the amount of students that 3

or more nights a week. This could be because alcohol is more available to them in college than

in high school.
Figure 11

                                  Daily Phyical Activity
                                  High School vs College
                       Physical Activity In High School        Physical Activity In College

                                                          26          26    27

                                  17             17


          0-10 min        10-20 min           20-30 min             30-60 min           60-120 min

       This graph shows the amount of exercise our participants received in both high school

and college. The graph clearly shows that our participants were physically active in high school.

Since coming to college we see our more athletic participants receive less daily activity. This

could be affected by high school athletes not continuing sports in college.
Figure 12

                               Factors of Weight Gain

                               41        39

                                                                         12        11

       This graph shows what our participants found to be the most influential factors that

contribute weight gain. Most people thought laziness was the main factor that contributed to

their weight gain.

       After surveying 100 Rowan University students, we were able to find some answers to

the question, “What are the main factors causing weight gain amongst college students?” While

calculating our results, the first discovery that we found was how diverse our research population

was. We surveyed 100 students in over 20 different majors. HES majors made up the largest

group, with 22%. (Figure1) This most likely is due to the fact that HES majors were readily

available to us because we see them often in our classes. Our population was fairly split amongst

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors each of whom made up approximately 30% of our research

population. Freshman, by far, made up the smallest class surveyed, with only 11 Freshman

participants. (Figure 2) Once again, this is most likely due to the fact that upper classmen were

readily available to our group because we see them more often. Our population was split evenly

amongst males and females. However, females made up the slight majority of 56% in this

population. (Figure 3) We surveyed students from the ages 18 to 26. Most of the participants

were between the ages of 19 to 21 years of age. (Figure 4) These charts showed that our sample

population of Rowan University was diverse.

       After we discovered who made up our sample population, we surveyed students on the

factors that contribute to weight gain. We made our questions to reflect some of the research that

we found linking weight gain such as alcohol consumption, motivation, eating late, etc. We

found that there are a variety of factors that contribute to weight gain amongst Rowan University

Students. The top three reasons most college students surveyed believe causes such weight gains

were laziness, alcohol, and amount of time to eat healthy food. We found laziness as a surprising

cause of weight gain amongst Rowan students. Quite simply, we never expected students to

believe that they themselves were lazy, let alone admit that in a survey. This is a revealing

statistic. Now that we have evidence showing that students are admittedly lazy, we believe that
Our participants also surveyed that they have a significant less amount of time allotted for

physical activity compared to high school. This could be due to the fact that in high school,

Physical Education class is required, whereas in college, the student has more of a broad

selection of courses to take. In addition, some of the non athletes in college could have been high

school athletes that did not continue their athletic career into the NCAA.

       College is supposed to be a time of freedom. According to this survey, however, college

students say that they don’t have the time to eat healthy or be physically active. This could be a

result of class scheduling. Broad selections in class choices and times enables more time in

between classes. Not having a Friday class could affect our participants’ decision to consume

alcohol, or stay up late eating junk food on a Thursday night rather than going to bed. Having

such time in between classes gives our surveyors ample time to make unhealthy choices, whereas

in highschool, everyday was the same schedule. We believe that students do, in fact, have ample

time to eat healthy and work out. Unfortunately, students take this time to participate in

unhealthy behaviors such as drinking alcohol, eating late, playing video games, watching tv, etc.

       Our results supported our hypothesis in the beginning. Our statistics on the topic clearly

show that the causes in weight gain among college students does vary in reasons behind the

matter. However, it is evident that Rowan’s college students should not consume as much

alcohol, spend more time in physical activity, and make better food choices if they do not wish to

gain weight while in the prime of their life. Rowan University should implement more programs

that promote physical activity. It would be beneficial to 75 percent of the population if we got

them on their feet and moving. If the status quo here at Rowan University is changed, and

students become more active and make healthier choices, lifelong fitness can be instilled in these


Brunt, A., Rhee, Y., & Zhong, L. (2008). Differences in Dietary Patterns Among College

       Students According to Body Mass Index. Journal of American College Health, 56(6),

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