Advertisement

College Students' Barriers and Enablers for Healthful Weight Management: A Qualitative Study

      Abstract

      Objective

      To identify barriers and enablers for healthful weight management among college students.

      Design

      Sixteen on-line focus groups, homogeneous by sex and university.

      Setting

      Eight universities in 8 states.

      Participants

      College students (N = 115; 55% female; mean age 19.7 ± 1.6).

      Analysis

      Qualitative software, Nvivo version 2 (QSR International, Victoria, Australia, 2002), was used; similar codes were grouped together and categorized using an ecological model.

      Results

      Males and females cited the same barriers to weight management: intrapersonal (eg, temptation and lack of discipline); interpersonal (social situations); and environmental (eg, time constraints, ready access to unhealthful food). Similar enablers were identified by sex: intrapersonal (eg, regulating food intake, being physically active); interpersonal (social support); and environmental (eg, university's environment supports physical activity). More barriers than enablers were given, indicating that these college students were more sensitive to barriers than the enablers for weight management. Factors viewed by some students as barriers to weight management were viewed as enablers by others.

      Conclusions and Implications

      When designing weight management interventions for college students, sex specificity may not be as important as considering that a barrier for one student may be an enabler for another. From an ecological perspective, individually focused interventions must be implemented in conjunction with environmental-level interventions to facilitate behavior change.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access

      SNEB Member Login

      SNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Arnett J.J.
        Emerging adulthood, a theory of development from the late teens through the twenties.
        Am Psych. 2000; 55: 469-480
        • Racette S.B.
        • Deusinger S.S.
        • Strube M.J.
        • Highstein G.R.
        • Deusinger R.H.
        Weight changes, exercise, and dietary patterns during freshman and sophomore years of college.
        J Am Coll Health. 2005; 53: 245-251
        • Mokdad A.H.
        • Bowman B.A.
        • Ford E.S.
        • Vinicor F.
        • Marks J.S.
        • Koplan J.P.
        The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States.
        JAMA. 2001; 286: 1195-1200
        • Betts N.M.
        • Amos R.J.
        • Keim K.
        • Peters P.
        • Stewart B.
        Ways young adults view foods.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 1997; 29: 73-79
        • Horacek T.M.
        • Betts N.M.
        College students' dietary intake and quality according to their Myers Briggs type indicator personality preferences.
        J Nutr Educ. 1988; 30: 387-395
      1. American College Health Association. American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) Web Summary. Updated August 2007. Available at: http://www.acha-ncha.org/data_highlights.html. Accessed March 12, 2008.

      2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: National College Health Risk Behavior Survey—United States, 1995.
        Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1997; 46: 1-54
      3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of physical activity, including lifestyle activities among adults—United States, 2000-2001.
        Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003; 52: 764-769
      4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity and health: a report of the surgeon general. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/summary.htm. Accessed March 2008.

        • Douglas K.A.
        • Collins J.L.
        • Warren C.
        • et al.
        Results from the 1995 National College Health Risk Behavior Survey.
        J Am Coll Health. 1997; 46: 55-66
        • Lewis C.E.
        • Jacobs Jr., D.R.
        • McCreath H.
        • et al.
        Weight gain continues in the 1990s: 10-year trends in weight and overweight from the CARDIA study.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2000; 151: 1172-1181
        • Hoffman D.J.
        • Policastro P.
        • Quick V.
        • Lee S.K.
        Changes in body weight and fat mass of men and women in the first year of college: a study of the “freshman 15”.
        J Am Coll Health. 2006; 55: 41-45
        • Levitsky D.A.
        • Halbmaier C.A.
        • Mrdjenovic G.
        The freshman weight gain: a model for the study of the epidemic of obesity.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004; 28: 1435-1442
      5. American College Health Association National College Health Assessment Spring 2006 Reference Group Data Report (abridged).
        J Am Coll Health. 2007; 55: 195-206
        • Must A.
        • Spadano J.
        • Coakley E.H.
        • Field A.E.
        • Colditz G.
        • Dietz W.H.
        The disease burden associated with overweight and obesity.
        JAMA. 1999; 282: 1523-1529
        • Must A.
        • Strauss R.S.
        Risks and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999; 23: S2-S11
      6. United States Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity 2001. Available at: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/. Accessed July 31, 2007.

        • Campbell M.K.
        • Meier A.
        • Carr C.
        • et al.
        Health behavior change after colon cancer: a comparison of findings from face-to-face and online focus groups.
        Fam Community Health. 2001; 24: 88-103
        • Kenny A.J.
        Interaction in cyberspace: an online focus group.
        J Adv Nurs. 2005; 49: 414-422
        • Fox F.E.
        • Morris M.
        • Rumsey N.
        Doing synchronous online focus groups with young people: methodological reflections.
        Qual Health Res. 2007; 17: 539-547
        • Foster G.D.
        • McGuckin B.G.
        Nondieting approaches: principles, practices, and evidence.
        in: Wadden T.A. Stunkard A.J. Handbook of Obesity Treatment. Guilford Press, New York2002: 494-508
        • Cameron K.A.
        • Salazar L.F.
        • Bernhardt J.M.
        • Burgess-Whitman N.
        • Wingood G.M.
        • DiClemente R.J.
        Adolescents' experience with sex on the web: Results from online focus groups.
        J Adolesc. 2005; 2: 535-540
        • Keller J.
        The systematic process of motivational design.
        Performance and Instruction J. 1987; 9/10: 1-8
        • Greene G.
        • Horacek T.
        • White A.
        • Ma J.
        Use of a diet interview method to define stages of change in young adults for fruit, vegetable and grain intake.
        Top Clin Nutr. 2003; 18: 32-41
        • Craig C.L.
        • Marshall A.L.
        • Sjostrom M.
        • et al.
        International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003; 35: 1381-1395
        • McLeroy K.R.
        • Bibeau D.
        • Steckler A.
        • Glanz K.
        An ecological perspective on health promotion programs.
        Health Educ Q. 1988; 15: 351-377
        • Horacek T.
        • White A.
        • Betts N.M.
        • et al.
        Decisional balance, self-efficacy and weight satisfaction discriminate stages of change for fruit and vegetable intakes among young men and women.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102: 1466-1470
      7. US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
        6th ed. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC2005
        • Buckla C.
        • Greene G.
        Assessment of fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels of young adults. Paper presented at: 5th Annual Conference of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
        MA, Boston2006
        • Grubbs L.
        • Carter J.
        The relationship of perceived benefits and barriers to reported exercise behaviors in college undergraduates.
        Fam Community Health. 2002; 25: 76-84
        • Buckworth J.
        • Nigg C.
        Physical activity, exercise, and sedentary behavior in college students.
        J Am Coll Health. 2004; 53: 28-34
        • Seo D.C.
        • Nehl E.
        • Agley J.
        • Ma S.M.
        Relations between physical activity and behavioral and perceptual correlates among Midwestern college students.
        J Am Coll Health. 2007; 56: 187-197
        • Schneider S.
        • Kerwin J.
        • Frechtling J.
        • Vivari B.
        Characteristics of the discussion in online and face-to-face focus groups.
        Soc Sci Comput Rev. 2002; 20: 31-42