Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Jennifer Barnes


Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that contribute to diet and weight control behaviors and the presence of weight cycling among college students.

Study Design Students at Illinois State University were invited to participate in a Qualtrics survey distributed via email. Inclusion criteria included being a current student at the university between the ages of 18 and 24. The study population (N= 351) included participants with an average age of 20.5 years old (SD= 1.7). Preferred gender included 267 (76.1%) females, 75 (21.4%) males and 9 (2.6%) non-binary identities.

Results The majority of participants were in the “normal weight” category with an average BMI of 24.89 kg/m2. The eating behavior scores for cognitive restriction (CR), uncontrolled eating (UE) and emotional eating (EE) were determined based on score out of a total of 28 possible points. Variables of BMI and year in school showed strong influences in developing eating behaviors, CR, UE and EE. Weight cycling had an inverse relationship between percent weight change and attempting to lose weight in college and between BMI and weight change.

Conclusion Year in school demonstrates being at risk for eating and weight control behaviors. With the majority of the study population within the “normal weight range,” almost half reported to be normal weight while the other half had perceptions that they were overweight. There needs to be more research to investigate influences for eating and weight control behaviors and the prevalence of weight cycling on a college campus. This research gives a good snap shot into how several individual and external factors can impact health behaviors in the emerging adulthood population.


Imported from Valluzzi_ilstu_0092N_12136.pdf


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