Adult obesity is a complex multi-factorial condition that is associated with weight gain in emerging adulthood. Currently, there is limited understanding about all of the biopsychosocial contributors to weight status in emerging adulthood.
To examine the association between various wellness dimensions and weight status in emerging adults.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
Analysis of cross-sectional health assessment data of post-secondary students (n = 374;17-26 years) was conducted.
The outcome, BMI, dichotomized as 18.5 to 24.9 and ≥25 kg/meters-squared. The independent variables included the 10 wellness dimensions of the National Wellness Institute's TestWell Wellness Inventory: physical fitness, nutrition, self-care and safety, emotional wellness, social awareness, emotional awareness and sexuality, emotional management, intellectual wellness, occupational wellness, and spiritual wellness. Scores for each of the wellness dimensions were categorized as excellent/good (30-50) and needs improvement (<30). Covariates included age, sex, ethnicity (eg, Caucasian and non-Caucasian), and living situation (eg, with someone or living alone). Bivariate and binary logistic regression analyses were applied to examine associations between weight status and the dimensions of wellness while adjusting for all covariates.
Most participants were in their first year of postsecondary studies (72%), female (80.3%), had healthy body mass index (BMI) status (77.3%), were non-Caucasian (63.3%), and lived with others (n = 327, 87.4%). Bivariate analysis indicated that average BMI significantly differed by emotional awareness and sexuality categories (t = −2.99, P = .003). Based on logistic regression analysis, the likelihood of healthy BMI was increased when scores for nutrition (aOR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.05-5.02, P = .037), emotional awareness and sexuality (aOR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.07-6.74, P = .036), and occupational wellness (aOR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.02-4.19, P = .044) were higher.
Integrated efforts that target nutrition, relationships, and work-life balance may help with healthy weight maintenance in emerging adults.