At the recent Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference in New Orleans, Assistant Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos and student researchers presented the results of “Project Represent,” a longitudinal study of first-year students.
The study tracked weight change and other psychosocial variables over the course of the participants’ first two semesters in an effort to better understand weight change patterns and what predicts weight gain in students. The students who worked on the study with Bodenlos over the course of the past two years are Walter Green’12, Bernadette Wormuth’12 and Michele Day’13, as well as recent alums Madeline August’11 and Anne Jordan’11.
They presented their paper titled, “The Relationship of Alcohol Consumption and Social Support with Weight Gain over the First Year of College,” in New Orleans, from April 11-14.
According to their abstract, “In this prospective study, we sought to examine the average amount of weight gained over the first year of college and to determine which psychosocial factors are associated with weight gain.”
Participants included 59 female and 12 male college students who took part in two sessions, one during the first few weeks of school and the second from the end of the spring semester. During each session they had their weight taken and completed a survey of health behaviors as well as the Center for Epidemiological Study of Depression, Perceived Stress Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support.
Bodenlos and the students found the average weight gain after the first year of college was 5.40 pounds, with males gaining more weight than females.
“Findings from this study provide evidence that alcohol consumption and support from a romantic partner can affect weight gain in college,” the study reported.
According to Bodenlos, “We are bringing students in from last year to track weight change in their second year of school. We plan to follow these two cohorts throughout their four years of college.”
In the photo above are Bernadette Wormuth, Michele Day, Walter Green and Professor Bodenlos.