Research Brief| Volume 49, ISSUE 2, P137-141.e1, February 2017

Examining the Weight Trajectory of College Students

Published:December 03, 2016DOI:



      To examine the weight trajectory of students over 4 years of college.


      Anthropometric assessments were completed at the beginning and end of students' freshman year and the end of senior year to calculate body mass index. Questionnaires assessing weight-related behaviors were completed in senior year.


      Of the original 117 students, 86 remained in the study for 4 years. Body mass index was significantly higher at the end of senior year (mean, 24.84; SD, 4.46) vs the beginning of freshman year (mean, 23.59; SD, 4.01; t[85] = 5.61; P < .001). Weight was significantly higher at the end of senior year (mean, 71.32 kg; SD, 15.60) vs the beginning of freshman year (mean, 66.94 kg; SD, 14.02; t[85] = 6.60; P < .001). Students' mean weight gain was 4.38 kg and the sample increased from 23% to 41% overweight/obese. No significant associations were found between BMI and lifestyle factors.

      Conclusions and Implications

      This study suggests that students gain weight throughout college, which highlights the need for weight control interventions to target more than just freshman college students.

      Key Words

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