The issues of weight correlation between the high school students and freshman college students generally depend on the nutrition regime and habits. These habits and traditions change, when students start living their independent life, and when their time becomes filled with various assignments, educational activity etc. that originates the preference of fast food, and further problems with health and weight. The aim of the paper is to represent the dependence of the weight problems on the changes of the nutritional habits and way of life among students of the high school and students of the freshman college years.
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In accordance with the theoretic basis of weight correlation, described by Trockel and Barnes (2004), the necessity to change the consumption habits and the lifestyle in general is only the first step of returning to normal weight. Moreover, the way of thinking and self perception should be changed. Nevertheless, such factors as genetics and hormonal deceases should be considered, as independently on the lifestyle and eating habits, the problem may be essentially deeper.
Research Question and Hypotheses
The hypothesis of the research is associated with the changes of lifestyle, activity and eating habits, as well as the increased stresses of the college students. The research question will be to define the conformity of these correlations, and provide the solution for the problem. The independent variables of the research is, the transition from school to college, while dependent variables are the weight correlations. The average tendencies and forecasts for obesity rates may be considered for this part (Appendix A.)
The researchers, which have already researched the matters of the weight correlation, associated with the changes of the lifestyle, mainly base their considerations on the matters of student behavior and the reasons of weight correlation. The fact is that, the correlation may be either positive or negative, and it depends only on the lifestyle and nutritional habits of the students. Thus, the extended educational time, necessity to spend hours in libraries and internet cafes for making reports or finding the necessary materials for colloquiums, break the habitual nutritional regime. Thus, as it is emphasized by Anding and Suminski (2003, p. 168):
College is typically a busy and stressful time when studying and socializing take precedence over exercise. In addition, many students grab fast food, candy bars and other unhealthy food choices because of their convenience. Weight loss doesn’t require a strict diet. Students need to make healthy food choices that are eaten in a relaxed environment.
Thus, considering the fact of high stresses, some students start going in for sports, thus, the increased loads for mental and physical work cause the loss of weight, thus, most students become slimmer.
On the other hand, college studies may cause depression, as the first years in college originate the feeling of loneliness, anxiety and stress. Thus, depression is alleviated by food. Overeating leads to weight gains, consequently, the tendency is quite opposite. Some students simply become too addictive to fast food, and start gaining weight, thus, their nutritional habits change, and the lack of activity causes the positive changes in weight. In the light of this perspective, there is strong necessity to emphasize the statement by Trockel and Barnes (2004, p. 127):
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Gaining weight because of depression and negative emotions is especially true for first-year students who are still adjusting to the new environment. Its researchers found that 70 percent of students gain a significant amount of weight by the end of their second year.
As for the matters of weight loss for those students who have already gained it, it should be emphasized that the solution of the problem is often on the surface, nevertheless, they often become frustrated and stressed, when they experience failures while trying to lose weight. It is stated in Schwitser and Bergholz (2005), that these students often have plans how to lose some gained weight, nevertheless, they do not have enough patience for the plans came true. The plans should be given some time to start working, as the body needs some time to get adapted for the new nutrition regime, moreover, losing weight process is essentially slower in comparison with gaining weight.
In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that some researchers even classify freshmen in accordance with the levels of weight gains. Thus, the term “freshman 15″ means the amount of pounds, which were gained for the first year of study. Surely, the main reason of the weigh changes are stresses and sedentary way of life, which causes the changes in body constitution.
Part of the paper should be focused on the matters of more serious eating disorders. Thus, as it is stated by Schwitser and Bergholz (2005), irregular schedules, part-time jobs, which are often found by students and depressing deadlines often violate the normal eating habits and patterns, causing the appearance of unhealthy habits, which may be too hard to break. Nevertheless, there is strong necessity to find the time for setting up the healthy eating habits in spite of the difficulties and time shortages. In accordance with Anding and Suminski (2003), it should be emphasized that the increasing numbers of anorexia and bulimia among college females is the frightening tendency of the students’ nutritional habits. As Schwitser and Bergholz (2005, p. 202) stated:”This is related to body image dissatisfaction ‑ females that are underweight, as measured by their body mass index (BMI), sometimes consider themselves to be overweight.”
The research process will be based on researching the 582 freshmen, as well as the changes in their Body Mass Index for the period of study in the college. The method will entail the creation of questionnaires, which should entail the basic data: name, age, weight, height. Then, the behavioral habits should be defined: hobbies, sports. Eating habits should define the matters addiction to fast food, how often, where and what students consume. The research will be performed considering all the dependent and independent variables.
The limitations of the research will entail the genetic prerequisites for obesity or nutrition disabilities, such as cases of anorexia or bulimia. The validity of the study is defined by the matters of the consent form, aimed at confirming the agreement of the participants for the issuing of the provided data in the research. The reliability aspect will be defined by the precision of the provided data and considerations of the possible deviations.
Freshman excluded from participation in the research study were those on medications causing weight gain/loss, participants in the university athletic teams, had previously been diagnosed with an eating disorder, pregnant women, freshman students not beginning in the fall of 08, those outside the age parameters of 17-19 years of age, and students with workloads under twelve credits. 582 consenting freshmen students who qualified for the study, however a computer program randomly selected 400 of the volunteers to participate in the experiment.
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The subject of the research is the definition of the relation between the eating habits, changes in the lifestyle and correlation of the Body Mass Index. Apparatus will entail only questionnaires and voice recording, if respondents agree to be voice recorded.
The factors of the lifestyle, in accordance with Trockel and Barnes (2004) often cause the changes in nutritional habits, and the activities define the tendencies for losing or gaining weight. In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that students, which fail to do physical exercises, will not lose weight, and the problem of obesity will stay actual. Consequently, the matters of lifestyle are among the most important factors, as even healthy nutrition and lack of physical activity may cause the weight gaining.
The data of the research should be presented in the tables, where the problems and the reasons of the problems should be revealed. Finally, the solutions of the problems should be given, as the problem of obesity is solvable, nevertheless, strong determination is required. As a result, the table of obesity rates may be represented, and compared with the rates in other countries (Appendix B.)
The ethical matters of the research are limited to the matters of confidentiality, as some participants of the research will not wish to discover their personality, and preserve anonymity. As for the consent procedures, these should be registered in the written form, and the participants should be informed on the purposes and aims of the study. Moreover, their participation in the questionnaire should automatically mean that they are agreeing that the results of their questionnaire will be issued in the research.
Basing on this research, special diets and nutrition regimes for students may be elaborated.
Anding, J. D.; Suminski, R. (2003). “Dietary Intake, Body Mass Index, Exercise, and Alcohol: Are College Women Following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?” Journal of American College Health 49:167–171.
Schwitser, A; Bergholz, K. (2005). “Eating Disorders among College Students: Prevention, Education, and Treatment Responses.” Journal of American College Health 46(5):199–207.
Trockel, M; Barnes, M. (2004). “Health Related Variables and Academic Performance among First-Year College Students: Implications for Sleep and Other Behaviors.” Journal of American College Health 49(3):125–131.
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The aim of the research is to study the correlations in weigh rates among high school students and freshmen college years. The data, which you will provide will be used for defining the tendency of BMI and weight changes.
I ______________________________ promise to give accurate and sincere information, filling in this questionnaire. I am informed that the research is anonymous, and my name will not be disclosed, as well as any personal and confidential data.
If you have had all of your questions answered to your liking and you would like to be in the study, sign below. Your signature indicates that you agree to participate in this study.
Signature of Participant Date
I have explained the research procedure, subject rights and answered questions asked by the participant. I have offered him/her a copy of this informed consent form.
Signature of Witness Date