Young adults are at a uniquely increased risk for weight gain because of rapidly changing social situations that influence eating and exercise behaviors. Despite extensive efforts to promote weight management, these efforts only reach a small proportion of the population at risk and even effective programs promoting individual behavior change may have limited effectiveness in environments that promote weight gain. Research is needed to elucidate the combination of individual and environmental factors associated with unhealthy weight gain among college students. By recognizing that a myriad of environmental and individualized factors can influence eating behavior and lifestyle choices, tailored intervention strategies that have both an environmental and individual focus can begin to be developed. Additionally, identification of the individual factors and the necessary environmental factors to support the individual change is the first step in the development of indexes for comparisons and benchmarking to support policies and programs for behavior change on college campuses and communities. There is no index currently available for higher education campuses. This project will use established research techniques (the PRECEDE-PROCEED model for community-based participatory research) with communities of young adults to: 1) Develop instrument(s) and strategies to assess and evaluate individualized factors associated with eating behavior and health outcomes; 2) Refine and validate environmental assessment instruments for evaluating environmental factors that influence eating behavior and health outcomes; 3) Explore mechanisms of interaction between the identified individualized factors and environmental factors in influencing eating behavior; and 4) Use the findings to develop a Healthy Campus Index that can be used by higher education institutions around the nation to determine the how supportive their campuses are of promoting healthy weight among their students as well as identify areas of strength and areas needing improvement so that campuses can make meaningful changes that better support young adult health.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/10 → 9/30/16|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))