Freshmen weight gain: The convergence of popular culture, college transition and nutrition education.
AuthorSmiley, Kathlyn Elaine.
Committee ChairRitenbaugh, Cheryl
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Freshmen Weight Gain is the weight freshmen expect to gain their first year at college. The Freshmen Weight Gain has not been proven by standard research methods, however, students perceive it to be a real phenomena. Students concerned about the Freshmen Weight Gain may try to prevent it by using pathological dieting practices that are damaging to their physical and emotional health. Students who have existing body image/weight concerns may be at higher risk for developing an eating disorder. Standard weight management techniques do not appear to decrease students' concern for getting the Freshmen Weight Gain. An ethnographic study with thirty-nine freshmen living on campus at a large southwestern public university was conducted to develop a students' explanatory model for the Freshmen Weight Gain. Students described coming to college with limited knowledge about the freshmen culture and that there were limited external controls, rituals and role models to guide their behavior during their freshmen year. Students described that many of the normal changes in adjusting to college create lifestyle behaviors that leading to feeling out of control. Students described the stress of college transition coupled with experimentation results in their making lifestyle changes contributes to feeling out of control and needing some means to making boundaries with food and alcohol. Students also describe college food service to be partially responsible for the Freshmen Weight Gain, regardless of the quality of the individual school's food service system and in spite of the students learning to make healthy choices is presented. Thematic and narrative analysis revealed that students use the Freshmen Weight Gain to provide external controls that they need to decrease their stress. Theoretical support for the author's premise regarding the role of the Freshmen Weight Gain in the freshmen culture. Recommendations for further research to further assess the students' explanatory model for the Freshmen Weight Gain and recommendations to residence life, student health service and university administrative professionals concerning means for improving the students' college transition and food choices are presented as well.
Degree ProgramNutritional Sciences