Loneliness associated with unhealthy diets and physical inactivity among US college students – ScienceDaily

Loneliness associated with unhealthy diets and physical inactivity among US college students – ScienceDaily

Loneliness associated with unhealthy diets and physical inactivity among US college students – ScienceDaily

Transitioning to a new environment, as many freshmen do, can increase feelings of loneliness, and feelings of loneliness in college students have increased dramatically over the past decade, according to the National College Health Assessment. Additionally, a 2021 survey reported that 44% of US college students described their weight as being above normal, i.e. in the overweight or obese category. While loneliness has been linked to unhealthy weight and physical inactivity, research is lacking on eating behaviors in college students and the role it may play in obesity in college students.

Using data from the Mason: Health Starts Here cohort study, Master of Nutrition alumnus Li Jiang found that loneliness was related to altered diet quality and physical inactivity. The research was conducted as part of Jiang’s master’s thesis, and Mason Department of Nutrition and Food Studies Chair Lawrence J. Cheskin, associate professor Lilian de Jonge, former professor Cara Frankenfeld, and former postdoctoral fellow -doctoral fellow Ziaul H. Rana also contributed to the project.

“Our study supports the potential need for more research to understand unhealthy eating behavior and physical activity, which may be related to loneliness, an emotion that affects many college students,” says Jiang.

Sedentary (19.2%) and less active (53.8%) behaviors were more frequent in students who reported high loneliness (scores 4-6 and 7-9) than those who reported low loneliness (score 10-12 ). Students who reported more loneliness ate higher-fat diets than students who reported less loneliness.

“Interventions to reduce loneliness may have a positive health-promoting effect in this population. These data go along with other early findings from the Health Starts Here study that college students are not meeting healthy dietary guidelines or getting enough physical activity ” said Cheskin, who has an MD.

The study is a cross-sectional study that analyzed baseline data collected in the first wave of Mason: Health Start Here in 2019 and was funded by the Institute for BioHealth Innovation at George Mason University.

“Loneliness is associated with unhealthy eating behaviors and physical inactivity among US college students,” was published in November 2022 in Journal of the American College Health.

Mason: Health Starts Here is a first-of-its-kind transdisciplinary cohort study to understand and improve the health and well-being of college students. This survey will follow a broad sample of young adults, specifically Mason students, over time to capture the diversity of their college experiences and how it affects their health and well-being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *