Weight changes, exercise, and dietary patterns during freshman and sophomore years of college

Susan B. Racette, Susan S. Deusinger, Michael J. Strube, Gabrielle R. Highstein, Robert H. Deusinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

329 Scopus citations


Weight gain and behavioral patterns during college may contribute to overweight and obesity in adulthood. The aims of this study were to assess weight, exercise, and dietary patterns of 764 college students (53% women, 47% men) during freshman and sophomore years. Students had their weight and height measured and completed questionnaires about their recent exercise and dietary patterns. At the beginning of freshman year, 29% of students reported not exercising, 70% ate fewer than 5 fruits and vegetables daily, and more than 50% ate fried or high-fat fast foods at least 3 times during the previous week. By the end of their sophomore year, 70% of the 290 students who were reassessed had gained weight (4.1 ± 3.6 kg, p < .001), but there was no apparent association with exercise or dietary patterns. Future research is needed to assess the contributions of fat, muscle, and bone mass to observed weight gain and to determine the health implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Body mass index
  • College students
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Weight


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