The goal of this research is to develop and test innovative strategies to help prevent unhealthy weight gain in college students attending 2-year community or technical colleges. The intervention we propose for Phase 2, and will refine through our formative experiences in Phase 1, will be based on social ecological and social networks model with students randomized to conditions. Students (n=600) with BMIs between 18.5 and 29.9 will be recruited to participate in a randomized intervention trial. After the initial screening and consent procedures, students will complete baseline measures that include: assessment of body composition;a blood draw and blood pressure;medical and weight history;a 24-hour dietary telephone recall;and for a subsample, 7 days of accelerometer data;a behavioral and psychosocial survey;and a home food inventory. After the completion of baseline assessments, students will be randomized into intervention conditions or a control condition. The intensive intervention phase ofthe research, lasting a semester, will include three intervention approaches to be evaluated including: 1) a web-based curriculum (WBC) designed to be offered as a 1 credit college course;2) a personalized intervention (PI) using electronic, group and individual information and feedback using ecological momentary assessment;and 3) an enhanced web based course (WBC+E). The content focus for all ofthe intervention approaches targets four behaviors related to healthy weight maintenance including eating a healthy diet, being active and reducing sedentary time, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress. The supported intervention phase will follow with the creation of a virtual social network support (SNS) intervention using Facebook or a similar on-line social networking web site to reinforce, inform and encourage exchange and support between all participants from the three intervention arms. The SNS will be led by trained peer leaders that will be identified during phase 1 ofthe trial. Control students will receive their health assessments, existing public health information on maintaining a healthy weight and information regarding health services offered on their school's campus. The effectiveness and sustainability of the intervention approaches will be evaluated. .
Young adults have been identified as one ofthe population groups at greatest risk for unhealthy weight gain. Young adults attending 2-year colleges may be particularly vulnerable as they often come from lower income homes and are juggling working full time, going to school and often are parents. They have dietary, activity, sleep ahd stress management patterns that put them at greater risk for overweight.
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