Broad, Long-Term Objectives: The main objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of altering the environment to prevent or reduce the incidence of obesity. Obesity has been related to many chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, gallbladder disease, and some cancers. It has been well documented that prevention of obesity would decrease chronic disease, improve quality of life, and decrease health care costs in the U.S. However, many education programs have not resulted in behavioral changes that lead to long-term weight loss and/or prevention of weight gain. Although past research has been conducted in changing cafeteria environments to improve food choices, none of these studies assessed body weight or body composition. A site that would be an ideal setting to assess an environmental change on weight loss would be a university cafeteria. A university cafeteria would provide a captive audience, unlike worksite or community cafeterias, where the same individuals do not consume their meals on a daily basis. University students not only consume the majority of their meals at the dining commons, but they can be tracked over time to assess changes in body weight and body composition. If the proposed intervention were successful, it would greatly impact the number of individuals in the U.S. who are obese, because there are more than 12 million students enrolled in the 3600 U.S. colleges and universities (NCES, 1996). In focusing on a university cafeteria, we would most certainly target one of Healthy People 2010's goals to """"""""Reduce the proportion of adults who are obese"""""""". Thus, the specific aims for this proposed study are: 1) To assess the effectiveness of decreased portion sizes, and hence, decreased energy intake, within a university dining commons on body weight, body mass index, body fat, and waist girth, and 2) To assess the effectiveness of the environmental change on actual food consumption to determine the impact this change has on body weight, body mass index, body fat, and waist girth. That is, to assess if the changes made were effective. If changing cafeteria portion sizes is successful in a university setting, this same model can be used in other university cafeterias settings. Thus, our next step would be to work with larger communities to focus on altering portion sizes in cafeterias, and even restaurants that do not offer """"""""all you can eat"""""""" options.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-C (J1))
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Kuczmarski, Robert J
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Nursing
United States
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