Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Freshman weight gain: Women with heavy roommates gain less

22.09.2010
A new University of Michigan study finds that college women with roommates who weigh more than average gain less weight during their freshman year than women with slimmer roommates: half a pound versus 2.5 pounds.

That compares to the typical freshman weight gain of 2.5-to-6 pounds—much less than the mythical "Freshman 15."

"This finding seems counterintuitive, but there are some good explanations for why it may be happening," said Kandice Kapinos, an assistant research scientist at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

According to Kapinos, a labor and health economist, heavier roommates are more likely than average-weight women to diet. They also exercise more often and are more likely to use weight loss supplements and purchase college meal plans that limit access to food.

"It's not really the weight of your roommate that's important, but the behaviors your roommate engages in," Kapinos said. "These behaviors are what may really be 'contagious.'"

Kapinos conducted the study with Marquette University economist Olga Yakusheva. The study is the first to assess college weight gain using a natural experiment occurring on most college campuses in the United States—randomized roommate assignments.

"Previous studies have suggested that having an obese spouse, friend or sibling increases one's likelihood of becoming obese," Kapinos said. "But these relationships are obviously not random. People pick their friends and spouses, and they often select people who are similar to themselves. And even though we don't pick our siblings, we share a genetic inheritance and an early environment that may influence adult weight."

For the current study, which was presented this summer at the annual meeting of the American Society of Health Economists, the researchers assessed 144 female college students randomly assigned to share a living situation during their freshman year. At the start of the fall semester, the researchers obtained the women's weight and height, and asked about weight management behaviors. These included whether they had tried to lose weight at any time during the previous year, the average number of times per week they went to the gym and exercised outside, and whether they had signed up for an unlimited college meal plan.

The topic of peer influences on weight gain and weight management is important since obesity prevalence in young adults, aged 18 to 29, increased by 96 percent from 1988 to 2006—the largest percentage increase for all age groups.

Another study Kapinos and Yakusheva conducted found that freshmen assigned to dormitories with onsite dining halls gained more weight than those who had to venture outside of their dorms for food. Later this fall, the researchers will expand their study of the issue by analyzing a larger sample of students at a public university to see if roommate weight patterns persist. They will also examine other environmental influences and see if the findings vary with race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

"Our hope is that this line of research will have practical implications for university administrators and more generally for public health efforts aimed at reducing obesity," Kapinos said.

Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is the world's largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and in educating researchers and students from around the world. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Attitudes, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world's largest digital social science data archive. Visit the ISR website at www.isr.umich.edu for more information.

Contact: Diane Swanbrow
Phone: (734) 647-4416

Diane Swanbrow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu
http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=7994

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>