Weight loss practices and body weight perceptions among US College students

Christopher Wharton, Troy Adams, Jeffrey S. Hampl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Scopus citations


    Objective: The authors assessed associations between body weight perception and weight loss strategies. Participants: They randomly selected male and female college students (N = 38,204). Methods: The authors conducted a secondary data analysis of the rates of weight loss strategies and body weight perception among students who completed the National College Health Assessment survey. Results: Half of respondents (50%) were trying to lose weight, although only 28% of students were overweight or obese. Also, 12% of respondents had inaccurate body weight perception. Women and men with inaccurate body weight perception were significantly more likely to engage in inappropriate weight loss strategies than were those with accurate body weight perception. Of all students attempting to lose weight, 38% used both diet and exercise. Conclusions: These data show that college students are interested in weight loss and that body weight perception plays an important role in the desire to lose weight.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)579-584
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of American College Health
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Mar 2008


    • Body image distortion
    • College students
    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Weight loss

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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