Thirty six percent of Americans are obese and thirty three percent are overweight; obesity has become a known killer in the U.S. yet its prevalence has maintained a firm grasp on the U.S. population and continues to spread across the globe as other countries slowly adopt the American lifestyle. A survey was compiled collecting demographic and body mass index (BMI) information, as well as Tanofsky-Kraff’s (2009) “Assess Eating in the Absence of Hunger” survey questions. The survey used for this study was emailed out to Arizona State University students in Barrett, The Honors College, and the ASU School of Nutrition and Health Promotion listservs. A total of 457 participants completed the survey, 72 males and 385 females (mean age, 24.5±7.7 y; average body mass index (BMI), 23.4 ± 4.8 [a BMI of 25-29.9 is classified as overweight]). When comparing BMI with the living situation, 71% of obese students were living at home with family versus off campus with friends or alone. For comparison, 45% of normal weight students lived at home with family. These data could help structure prevention plans targeting college students by focusing on weight gain prevention at the family level. Results from the Tanofsky-Kraff (2009) survey revealed there was not a significant relationship between external or physical cues and BMI in men or women, but there was a significant positive correlation between emotional cues and BMI in women only. Anger and sadness were the emotional cues in women related to initiating consumption past satiation and consumption following several hours of fasting. Although BMI was inversely related to physical activity in this sample (r = -0.132; p=0.005), controlling for physical activity did not impact the significant associations of BMI with anger or sadness (P>0.05). This information is important in targeting prevention programs to address behavioral change and cognitive awareness of the effects of emotion on over-consumption.
- The Obesity Epidemic: An Examination of Physical, Emotional, and Social Factors Effects on Eating Tendencies in a College Sample
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