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ANALYZING AWARENESS OF OBESITY AMONG STUDENTS IN THE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER SCIENCES AT TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

A Thesis

Submitted to the Graduate School of Tennessee State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Graduate Research Series No. ______ Kashin A. Thompson August, 2011

UMI Number: 1497847

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ANALYZING AWARENESS OF OBESITY AMONG STUDENTS IN THE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER SCIENCES AT TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate School of Tennessee State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Kashin A. Thompson August 2011

To the Graduate School: We are submitting a thesis by Kashin A. Thompson entitled "Analyzing Awareness of Obesity Among Students in the School of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University" We recommend that it be accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Science in Agricultural Sciences.

_Dr_Eisshea Tegegne__________________ Chairperson

__Dr Barbara Canada__________________ Committee Member

__Dr. Lan Li_________________________ Committee Member

_Dr.Surendra P. Singh_________________ Committee Member Accepted for the Graduate School:

_ Alex Sekwat _________________ Dean of the Graduate School

DEDICATION

This thesis is dedicated to my father, Ray Thompson who passed away on June 17, 2011. He will be missed and forever in my heart. It is also dedicated to my mother, Kim Thompson without her encouraging words and support I would have never made it to this point in my life.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis took the work of many family members, friends, and professors. First and foremost I would like to thank God. When things seemed rough, I referred to the scripture "look to the hills from which your help cometh", because through him all things are possible. I would like to express my sincere thanks to my committee members, Dr. S. Singh, Dr. F. Tegegne, Dr. B. Canada and Dr. L. LI for sharing their knowledge on strengthening the thesis. Assistance by Dr. E. Ekanem is also acknowledged. I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues Derrick, Steven, and Simba, who have been supportive, checking on me to make sure I was making progress every other hour if not every hour, and aiding me in areas that I struggled. I would also like to acknowledge my wonderful friend Angela Knowlton who made sacrifices, and provided positive attitude, and letting me utilize her computer. I would like to extend a very special thanks to Denise Mitchell, and Mrs. Mary Ekanem. Last but not least I would like to thank my family who gave me motivation and encouragement.

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ABSTRACT
KASHIN THOMPSON Analyzing Awareness of Obesity Among Students in the School

of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University (under the direction of Dr. FISSEHA TEGEGNE) Obesity is excessive accumulation of body fat, which can lead to an adverse effect on health, resulting in reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. It is a major public health problem found in men, women, and children of all ages, races, ethnic background, and socioeconomic groups in the United States and around the world. The objectives of this study are as follows: 1) To assess awareness levels about obesity and related issues among students in the school of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University, 2) To characterize the prevalence of obesity and knowledge about it among the students, 3) To discuss suggestions by the students involved in this study. This study can contributes to a better understanding of factors related to students awareness about obesity and their suggestions to tackle the problem. In order to accomplish the objectives of this study data were collected from primary and secondary sources. Face- to-Face surveys of graduate and undergraduate students at Tennessee State University in the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences were conducted in spring 2011 A total of one hundred forty one completed responses were received. The data were checked for completeness coded and entered into the computer. Spss-Pc was used to conduct descriptive and statistical analysis of the data. Results show that there are various factors affecting awareness about obesity and strategies to tackle it.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments.............................................................................................................ii Abstract.............................................................................................................................iii Table of Contents..............................................................................................................iv List of Tables......................................................................................................................v Chapter I. Introduction......................................................................................................1 Statement of the problem....................................................................................10 Objectives............................................................................................................11 Hypothesis...........................................................................................................11 Significance of the Project..................................................................................12 Chapter II. Review of Literature......................................................................................14 Chapter III. Methodology................................................................................................21 Chapter IV. Results and Discussion.................................................................................23 Chapter V. Summary and Recommendations...................................................................44 Recommendations for future research..................................................................45 References........................................................................................................................47

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1

Prevalence of Obesity among adults, by black/white race or Hispanic ethnicity, census region and sex-behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, United States, 2006-2008

Table 2 Table 3 Table 4

U.S. Obesity Trends Amongst the States Prevalence and trends data in Tennessee Prevalence of overweight, obesity and Class II Obesity by SocioDemographic Characteristics

5 7 15

Table 5 Table 6

Classification and Exercise Habits Cross Tabulation Classification and Aware that Poor Diets Put Health at Risk Cross Tabulation

25 26

Table 7

Plans to Change Eating Habits and Which would Encourage plans to change eating habits Cross Tabulation

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Table 8

Classification and Plan to Change Your Eating Habits Cross Tabulation

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Table 9

Distribution Frequencies of Awareness of Obesity Problems among designed groups

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Table 10

Results of Chi-Square Tests of Awareness of Obesity Among designed Groups

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Table 11 Table 12

Anova Results of Awareness Level of Obesity Problems BMI Among Students

35 43

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. It is an excessive accumulation of body fat, which can lead to adverse effects on health, resulting in reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. It is considered to be a chronic illness requiring lifelong treatment and management (Mauro 2008). Obesity is usually associated with other conditions that can be controlled but not cured, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. When dealing with weight there are several topics that come into play varying from child to adult, they are: Extreme obesity a BMI (body mass index) greater than or equal to 40 Obesity an excessive amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass or a body weight that is 30 percent over the ideal weight for a specified height; BMI of 30 or greater. Normal Weight ideal weight per height measurements; a classification of BMI of 18.5-24.9. Underweight weighing less than normal, healthy, or required; BMI less than 18.5. Obesity is a major public health problem found in men, women, and children of all ages, race, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups in the United States and around the world. According to the United States Center for disease control (CDC) more than one third of adult Americans are obese. Approximately 300,000 deaths a year due to obesity, which puts it as the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States (Carson- Dewitt, MD 2009)

Even though obesity is found in men, women, and children, it is more prevalent among women. The forty to fifty year age group has the largest percentage of obesity with, 53% of Black women and 51% of Mexican women and almost 39% of White women. Racial/ethnic differences in obesity rates are not found in men. Table 1 provides some obesity statistics by various taxonomies for different regions of the United States.
American children and teens are also affected by the most common nutritional disorder. Children have become heavier in the past 30 years, and the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2-5 (5.0% to 13.9%), has tripled among youth ages 6-11 (6.5% to 18.8%), and has more than tripled among adolescents ages 12-19 (5.0% to 17.4%) (Barnes 2011). Once again Black and Hispanics are more likely to be overweight than White children. However, recent data suggest that the rate of overweight in children did not increase significantly between 1999 and 2008, except in the heaviest boys. This rate, though, remains alarmingly high; all are drastic changes that occurred over a thirty year span. The twenty to seventy-four age groups showed the highest increases compared to the two to five and six to eleven age groups. The World Health Organization (WHO 2008) estimated that 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older were overweight in 2008. Of these over 200 million men and almost 300 million women were obese.

Table 1: Prevalence of obesity among adults, by black/white race or hispanic ethnicity, census region, and sex - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, United States, 20062008
Census regions White, non-Hispanic (n = 900,629) Percent Overall Both sexes Men Women Northeast Both sexes Men Women Midwest Both sexes Men Women South Both sexes Men Women West Both sexes Men Women 21.0 22.1 19.8 (20.621.5) (21.522.8) (19.320.4) 33.1 34.1 32.0 (29.736.7) (29.039.6) (28.236.1) 29.0 27.3 30.4 (27.730.3) (25.529.2) (28.732.1) 24.4 26.3 22.5 (24.124.7) (25.826.8) (22.122.9) 36.9 32.6 40.6 (36.237.7) (31.433.9) (39.741.5) 29.2 28.3 29.7 (28.130.3) (26.630.1) (28.331.1) 25.4 27.0 23.8 (25.125.8) (26.527.6) (23.324.2) 36.3 32.1 40.1 (34.937.9) (29.734.5) (38.342.0) 29.6 29.7 29.2 (27.431.9) (26.433.1) (26.631.9) 22.6 25.0 20.0 (22.223.0) (24.425.6) (19.620.5) 31.7 26.5 36.1 (30.033.4) (24.029.1) (34.038.3) 26.6 26.9 26.0 (25.028.3) (24.329.6) (24.128.0) 23.7 25.4 21.8 (23.523.9) (25.125.7) (21.622.1) 35.7 31.6 39.2 (35.036.3) (30.632.7) (38.540.0) 28.7 27.8 29.4 (28.029.5) (26.728.9) (28.530.3) (95% CI) Percent Black, non-Hispanic (n = 84,838) (95% CI) Percent Hispanic (n = 63,825) (95% CI)

______________________________ Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5827a2.htm#tab1

Nearly 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010. WHO refers to the global epidemic as globesity. Figure 1 shows the percentages of obesity across the states.

Figure 1: U.S. Obesity Trend

Source: U.S. Obesity Trends 19852009, CDC, August, 2010

Table 2: U.S. Obesity Trends Amongst the States

____ __________________ Source: Extracted and modified from U.S. Obesity Trends 19852009, CDC, August, 2010.

State Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Washington DC Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania

Percent 31.0 24.8 25.5 30.5 24.8 18.6 20.6 27.0 19.7 25.2 27.2 22.3 24.5 23.2 27.2 25.8 25.7 23.3 25.1 24.2 29.3 27.9 28.8 31.4 23.0 27.4

State Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Percent 26.5 29.5 27.9 28.1 31.5 33.0 25.8 26.2 21.4 29.6 24.6 34.4 30.0 24.6 29.4 29.6 32.3 28.7 23.5 22.8 25.0 26.4 31.1 28.7 24.6

Figure 2: Percentages of Overweight and Obesity in Tennessee

__________________________ Source: (BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Data www.thecenterformichigan.net/wpcontent/uploads/2010/01/Obesity.xls)

Table 3: Prevalence and Trends Data in Tennessee Year: Tennessee Percent 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 18.4 17.4 17.7 19.2 20.5 22.9 23.4 24.5 CI (16.6-20.2) (15.8-19.0) (16.1-19.3) (17.5-20.9) (18.8-22.2) (21.1-24.7) (21.6-25.2) (22.7-26.3) n 359 508 510 556 596 656 653 740

Notes and Definitions of Terms: P=Prevalence and Trends Data T= Tennessee Available Years BMI=Weight classification by Body Mass Index (BMI) Ov= Overweight and Obesity (BMI) Percent (%) = Weighted Percentage CI = Confidence Interval n = Cell Size (Numerator

Table 3: Continued Year: Tennessee Percent 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
____________________ Source: BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Data available at www.thecenterformichigan.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Obesity.xls Notes and Definitions of Terms: P=Prevalence and Trends Data T= Tennessee Available Years BMI=Weight classification by Body Mass Index (BMI) Ov= Overweight and Obesity (Ov-BMI) Percent (%) = Weighted Percentage CI = Confidence Interval n = Cell Size (Numerator)

CI (23.0-27.0) (25.2-29.2) (25.4-29.4) (26.8-30.8) (28.5-32.9) (29.0-33.4) (30.9-34.9) (29.7-33.7)

n 616 933 1245 1195 1428 1453 1674 1730

25 27.2 27.4 28.8 30.7 31.2 32.9 31.7

Many American communities are characterized by unhealthy options when it comes to dieting and exercising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC 2008), public health approaches that make healthy options affordable and easily available for Americans are needed. The main focus of the CDCs division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity (DNPAO) is to create policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity, consumption of fruits and vegetables, breastfeeding and to reduce television viewing, consumption of sugar, sweetened beverages and high energy dense foods. Tennessee had a population of 6,346,105 in 2010 (metro pulse 2011). Bress 2009 says about 4.8 million of the population are adults of which thirty-six percent are considered overweight and thirty-two percent are classified as obese. Three in ten Tennessee adults report no leisure time for physical activity: Only twenty-three percent of adults eat fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day Sixteen percent of Tennessee youth ninth through twelve grades are overweight and another sixteen percent are obese according to 2009 youth risk behavior survey data (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/stateprograms/fundedstates/tennessee.html) Only twenty-four percent of the youth ninth through twelve grade meet physical activity recommendation levels which are 60 or more minutes of physical activity a day Only eighteen percent eat fruits and vegetables five times a day Forty one percent drank one plus non diet soda a day Thirty-eight percent watched three or more hours of television a day

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Tennessees obesity task force received CDC funding to develop a state nutrition, physical activity and obesity plan, Eat well, play more Tennessee. BMI In classifying an individual as obese or not Body Mass Index (BMI) is observed that is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individuals height and weight. Body mass index is defined as the individuals body weight divided by the square of his or her height. Statement of the problem Tennessee is ranked second out of the fifty states in terms of obesity. The epidemic of obesity took off from about 1980 and in almost all countries has been rising excessively ever since. When the Society of Actuaries (SOA) (U.S. world news 2011) researchers separated the economic cost of overweight and obesity to the United States in 2009, they found that it was $72 billion for overweight and $198 billion for obesity. The findings are based on a review of papers published primarily between January 1980 and June 2009. Tennessee alone spends $1.5 billion each year on obesity-related health costs (Sanchez 2010). According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), no state met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 15 percent, and 30 states were 10 or more percentage points away from the objective (http://www.obesity.org/resources-for/obesity-statistics.htm). Obesity increase risks of acquiring diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Obesity is now being

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considered a disease, and sixty nine percent of adults and thirty nine percent of children in Tennessee are considered obese. Objectives The objectives of this study are as follows: To assess awareness levels about obesity and related issues among students in the school of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University, To characterize the prevalence of obesity and knowledge about it among the students, To discuss suggestions by the students involved in this study. Hypothesis It is hypothesized that awareness about obesity and its prevalence among college students will be related to: (a) access to information about it, (b) characteristics of the students, (c) reading food labels, (d) familiarity with USDA dietary guidelines, (e) eating habits, and (f) exercise habits. The hypothesis will be tested using primary data collected on the above factors these variables were looked at based on literature from Weicha et al 2006, Hasse et al 2004 and Edman et al 2005.

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Significance of the problem This study can contribute to understanding about factors that are related or contribute to obesity among college students in Tennessee. The study can also raise awareness levels of obesity amongst college students. Responses received from the participants can suggest how to go about addressing the obesity issue, in regards to as exercise facilities, watching what is consumed; attending classes that pertain to healthy living and dieting. This study can contribute to a better understanding of students awareness about obesity and their suggestions to tackle the problem. Research focusing on college students is limited in general and at the historically black colleges and universities in particular. Figure 3: Prevalence Percentages of Obesity Among Men and Women

The graph shows trends in the prevalence of obesity for adults aged 20to 74 years in the United States from 1960 to 2000 as percentage of the total population.

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The rest of the thesis is organized as follows: chapter II will present review of relevant literature that will highlight what has been done. Chapter III focuses on methodology. This provides the hypothesis to be tested, description of data collected and methods used in analyzing it. The last chapter will analyze data, present and discuss the results including their implications.

CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW According to Nelson (2007) the transition from adolescence to adulthood is one developmental period that may be a critical stage for weight gain. Weicha et al (2006) came to a conclusion that television viewing is associated with exposure to food and beverage advertising and with between meal snacking. Majority of youth and college students watch television in their leisure time Hasse (2004). Nelsons study is the first to examine prevalence, trends and social disparities, overweight, obesity, and class II obesity in a nationally representative sample of college students in the United States. The purpose of their study was to examine social disparities and behavioral correlates of overweight and obesity overtime among college students. They took a sample of 24,613 college students 12,786 in 1993 and 11,827 in 1999 all under the age of twenty five (mean 20.4 S.D 1.6). The questions focused on physical activity, television viewing, and BMI analysis. Respondents reported current height in feet and inches and weight in pounds. Self-report measures of height and weight are generally considered to be valid and reliable for large-scale surveillance surveys. Their results were descriptive analyses and cross tabulations which came from a program similar to SPSS and SAS. They ran tests on gender and overweight then added television viewing to the analyses; they also added information that pertained to the objectives. They concluded overweight rose 21.7% in 1993 to 26.8% in 1999, obesity rose 4.1% in 1993 to 6.5% in 1999, and class II obesity rose 0.9% to 1.9%. Significantly higher rates of overweight and obesity occurred

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among students in their later years of college. Males were significantly more likely to be overweight and obese, than their female colleagues, and out of the race classification African American males were more obese as seen in the table below.

Table 4: Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity and Class II Obesity by Socio-Demographic Characteristics Selected Demography Year Gender Female Sample Size 1993 7369 1999 7258 4569 9307 633 978 909 743 7412 2841 1574 2993 2845 2912 2382 695 Overweight BMI>=25 1993 13.5 30.8 21.5 33.3 13.6 23.9 25.0 20.4 23.4 23.5 18.9 19.5 22.0 23.8 28.7 Obesity BMI>=30 1999 5.4 7.8 6.2 13.9 2.3 8.2 8.3 5.9 7.6 7.2 5.2 6.7 7.2 5.7 10.9 Class II obesity BMI>=35 1993 1999 1.0 0.8 0.7 4.4 0.2 0.6 0.4 0.7 1.2 1.2 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.2 2.0 1.8 1.7 5.3 0.6 2.1 2.2 1.6 2.0 2.9 1.7 2.5 1.5 1.3 3.7

1999 1993 20.0 35.0 26.7 38.3 16.4 30.6 30.2 25.0 29.1 31.4 23.0 27.3 27.6 27.5 37.2 2.9 5.4 3.9 11.2 2.0 3.4 2.8 3.6 4.6 4.9 3.1 4.0 4.3 4.3 5.7

Male 5417 Race White 10624 African American 568 Asian 849 Native/American 745 Hispanic 733 Socioeconomic position Both Parents 7454 Attended College One Parent (not 3256 both) Attended College Neither Parent 2076 Attended College Years in School First Year 2864 Sophomore 2648 Junior 3110 Senior 3045 Fifth Year 1119 ___________________________

Source: Disparities in overweight and obesity among U.S. college students. American Journal of Health Behavior. Volume 31 issue 4, 1 July 2007, 363-373Toben F Nelson

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A study carried out by Anderson et al (2003), the transition from high school to college may be such a critical period, because it is associated with many lifestyle changes that can lead to weight gain, such as changes in eating habits and increased alcohol intake. A total of 192 individuals were weighed on a digital scale and their heights were taken in September. Only 76% of participants returned to the lab in December and provided data on weight and eating changes during their first semester in college. At that time they were weighed again and completed follow up questionnaires as in September. Of the 76%, 135 provided complete data at both times they were interviewed. A subset of participants came back and provided the same information in May. In conclusion the percentage of participants defined as overweight or obese from September to May doubled, so for the group provided its safe to say the freshman year of college could be considered a critical period for weight gain Anderson et al (2003). Anderson also stated identifying critical periods for weight gain such as the freshman year of college and the factors that influence them may lead to the development of effective obesity prevention programs. In a study carried out by Levi et al (2007) 358 college students were surveyed at state university in the western United States to test the applicability of involvement on issues of obesity and eating habits. What they found was that women focused more on the types of food they ate than men. They concluded that mens food choices are fixed in the ideology of what it means to be male and female in American society.

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In a study done by Anne house et al (2004) a cross sectional survey was carried out with 19,298 university students from 23 countries varying in culture and level of economic development. The study focused on leisure time physical activity, health beliefs, and health knowledge. The study showed prevalence of inactivity in leisure time varied with cultural and economic developmental factors, 23% north Western Europe and United States, 30% central and Eastern Europe, 39% Mediterranean, 42% pacific Asian and 44% developing countries. They concluded that knowledge about activity and health was disappointing with only 40-60% of students being aware that physical activity was relevant to risk of heart disease. In the Journal of American College Health a study was carried out by Terry et al (2003) that zeroed in on 738 college students aged 18 to 27 to assess overweight, obesity, dietary habits, and physical activity. They used BMI > 25kg/m^2 or BMI>85th percentile and BMI>30 kg/m^1 or BMI>95th percentile to estimate overweight and obesity for ages less than up to 19. For the ages 20 and up they used BMI > 25kg/m^2 and BMI>30 kg/m^2. The study gave results of overweight rates of 21.6% and obesity rates of 4.9%, 69% of the respondents reported less than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and more than 67% reported less than twenty grams of fiber per day. The respondents also indicated that physical activity was done less than three days a week. Most college students are not meeting dietary and physical activity guidelines Terry et al (2003). These authors suggested the need for prevention, interventions and increased understanding of overweight in college students.

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Edman (2005) wanted to examine the relationship between negative emotions, body dissatisfaction, exercise, and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors among obese college students. The participants were 190 students of which are 88 male and 102 are female those that had a BMI above 30, were all required to take surveys. In this study compared to Real men dont read food labels the females reported higher levels of disorderly eating, uncomfortable with body size, and more frequent dieting, while the males worked out more. The significance of the study carried out by Edman et al (2005) was that body discomfort, anger discomfort, and self-discouragement went with the drive for thinness for both males and females. They also concluded that anger discomfort is the only factor that could predict disorderly eating in both genders. Anger management may be an important component in treatment of disordered eating among obese young adults Edman et al (2005). The objectives of the study titled association between the body mass index of first year female university students and their weight-related perceptions and practices, psychological health physical activity and other physical health indicators. Cilliers et al (2006) were investigating the association between the weight status of freshman female students and various weight management-related characteristics to identify possible components of a weight management program for students. What they looked at were weight measured in light clothes with no shoes, and height taken with no shoes, blood pressure, physical activity, body shape, eating attitudes, and self concept. Additional questions included previous schooling, medication use, chronic disease, and smoking habits. What they came up with was the management program should include

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information about supplement use, smoking, realistic weight goals, safe and sound weight loss methods, weight cycling, body shape, perceptions, eating attitudes and behaviors, self concept and physical activity Cilliers et al (2006). In the study conducted by Sira et al (2010) they used a cross-sectional survey to investigate the rates of overweight and obesity and eating attitudes among 582 students with 106 male and 420 female college students. The respondents came from a southeastern university whose age ranged from 18-25, heights and weights were self reported for BMI calculations. Sira et al (2010) used the chi-square to determine if the students with a BMI greater than 25 between gender and ethnic background were significant. Males had significantly higher mean BMI than females (48.1% Vs 28.9%) Chi-square = 15.26 with a degrees of freedom =1and p less than 0.001. According to the report about a third (29.8%) of college students were overweight or obese. Sira et al (2010) conducted a study of students who tried to lose weight but went about it incorrectly. These findings call for obesity prevention intervention, lifestyle modification, and outreach programs among college students. The study further highlights the importance of the college years as an excellent time for health promotion. Morrow et al (2006) wanted to investigate changes in body weight, BMI, body composition, and fat among freshman women during first year of college. They surveyed 137 women and found they gained about 2.4 pounds, and not the myth of fifteen pounds associated with freshmen women. Grahm et al (2002) reported that the fixation on the freshman fifteen myth is responsible for freshmen students having negative feelings

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about their body weight and image while being more likely to categorize themselves as being overweight. Racette et al (2008) conducted a survey to assess height and weight changes, exercise and dietary behaviors among college students from freshman year to the end of the senior year. The major finding of the study was BMI increased significantly through the four years of college. The result also suggests that if weight gain of freshman year continued throughout the four years, it will be a dramatic increase in the incidence of overweight and obesity among young adults.

CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Data for this study were collected from primary and secondary sources to analyze objectives of this study. The secondary sources include books, journals, publications by CDC, and others. Face to Face survey of graduate and undergraduate students in the school of Agriculture and Consumer sciences were conducted in spring 2011. A total of one hundred forty-one completed responses were received. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were female with the balance being male. Data Collection Data collection involved face-to-face surveys of Agriculture and Consumer Science students at Tennessee State University. The survey instrument was pre-tested using a few students to get feedback to finalize it. The questions in the survey included types of food consumed and where, height and weight, exercise habits, socioeconomic background, awareness levels about obesity and knowledge of USDA dietary guidelines. The data were coded, entered into the computer and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive and inferential statistics including frequencies, chi-square test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used in explaining results of the findings.

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The BMI data was compiled on excel spreadsheet using the following formula: BMI=Weight (kg)/Height (M)2. For example, the BMI for an individual who is 57 and weighs 150 pounds is given below: BMI = Weight (kg) Height2 (m) An individual who is 5'7'' in height and weighs 150 pounds Weight conversion (lb to kg): To convert from lbs to kg: weight in lbs divided by 2.2 Example: 150 lb 2.2 = 68 kg Height conversion (inches to meters): To convert from inches to meters: (height in inches x 2.54) 100 Example: 67 x 2.54 = 170 170 100 = 1.70 meters BMI = 68 (1.7)2 = 68 2.89 = 23.5 Source: http://www.acefitness.org/fitnessqanda/fitnessqanda_display.aspx?itemid=324)

CHAPTER IV RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Sixty-one percent of respondents had urban background with the remaining coming from rural areas. Of the 39% from rural areas, 10.6% were male and 28.4% were female. For the urban background, 12% were male and 48.9% were female. In terms of age, the results showed the following: 18-22 year old (57.7%), 23-27 (27.0%), 28-32 (7.1%), 33-37 (3.5%) and 38-42 (2.1%) only a miniscule proportion (2.1%) accounted for those beyond the age of forty-two. Regarding parents education 32.6% indicated their mothers had a high school/GED level of education, 26.2% attended college but did not finish, 20.6% hold a college degree, and 19.1% received a graduate degree. When dealing with fathers educational level, 38.3% indicated that they received a high school diploma or GED, 18.4% had some college education, 22.0% finished college and 12.1% attained a graduate degree. Students who participated in the survey varied in terms of department and concentrations. Of the 141 respondents, 73 (51.8%) were agricultural science students and 48.2% were enrolled in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Figure 4 below shows the percentage distribution of respondents in the different concentrations in the two departments.

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Figure 4: Distribution of students enrolled in different concentrations


Animal Science 12.1 Plant & soil science 17.7 Food & Nutrition 7.1

5 4 3 2 1 0 10

Family and early childhood education 40.4

Series1

Agribusiness 22.7 30 40 50

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Not only did the students vary in terms of department and concentrations in which they were enrolled but also differed in classification. Graduate students accounted for 27.0%. In the undergraduate category the distribution is as follows: seniors (24.8%), juniors (22.7%), sophomore (16.3%), 9.2% and freshman. Research shows that 96.5% of students that had taken the survey consume snacks, and over 90% of these students consume snacks 1-10 times a day. A small proportion (3.5%) stated they consume no snacks. When the participants were asked about reading food labels and the types of food they buy, a combined 74.5% indicated that they often make it a point to read food labels or seldom read food labels. In terms of food purchased 46.1% and 26.2% purchased low fat foods and low calorie food respectively. This may reflect that they have some concern about their diet and healthy living.

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Table 5: Classification and Exercise Habits Cross Tabulation Classification Daily Often Sometimes Rarely Not at all Total Freshman (Count) 3 4 5 0 1 13 (%) within Classification 23.1 30.8 38.5 .0 7.7 100 (%) within Exercise habits 12.0 9.8 10.6 .0 14.3 9.2 (%) of Total 2.1 2.8 3.5 .0 .7 9.2 Sophomore (Count) 1 5 10 5 2 23 (%) within Classification 4.3 21.7 43.5 21.7 8.7 100 (%) within Exercise habits 4.0 12.2 21.3 23.8 28.6 16.3 (%) of Total .7 3.5 7.1 3.5 1.4 16.3 Junior (Count) 6 8 14 3 1 32 (%) within Classification 18.8 25.0 43.8 9.4 3.1 100 (%) within Exercise habits 24.0 19.5 29.8 14.3 14.3 22.7 (%) of Total 4.3 5.7 9.9 2.1 .7 22.7 Senior (Count) 4 12 11 7 1 35 (%) within Classification 11.4 34.3 31.4 20.0 2.9 100 (%) within Exercise habits 16.0 29.3 23.4 33.3 14.3 24.8 (%) of Total 2.8 8.5 7.8 5.0 .7 24.8 Graduate (Count) 11 12 7 6 2 38 (%) within Classification 28.9 31.6 18.4 15.8 5.3 100.0 (%) within Exercise habits 44.0 29.3 14.9 28.6 28.6 27.0 (%) of Total 7.8 8.5 5.0 4.3 1.4 27.0 Total Count 25 41 47 21 7 141 (%) within Classification 17.7 29.1 33.3 14.9 5.0 100 (%) within Exercise habits 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100 100 (%) of Total 17.7 29.1 33.3 14.9 5.0 100 Table 5 shows the workout habits of the individuals in the two departments by classification. Of the five classifications the graduate class has the most individuals with 28.9% that workout daily. The senior class that workout often 34.3%, the junior class had 43.8% that workout sometimes, and the sophomore class works out often 21.7%. The freshman class had the lowest total of individuals 9.2% who attempted exercising.

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Table 6: Classification Aware that Poor Diets Put Health at Risk Cross Tabulation Classification Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate Total Aware that poor diets put health at risk Yes 13 19 28 31 33 124 No 0 4 4 4 5 17 Total 13 23 32 35 38 141

When the individuals were questioned as to whether or not they were aware of poor diets can jeopardize health, 124 responded yes (87.9%) and 17 no (12.1%). The graduate class had the most yes responses with 33 (86.8%) and the freshman class had the fewest no responses, with 0 indicating that individuals are aware of poor diet but obesity doesnt concern them. Therefore they had no reason to inquire about the issue.

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Table 7: Plans to Change Eating Habits Which Would Encourage Plans to Change Eating Habits Crosstabulation
Which would encourage change in eating habits Availabil ity of low cost exercise facilities 28 27.5 82.4

Selected Variables Nutrition Education Yes (Count) Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent within Which would encourage change in eating habits Percent of Total No (Count) Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent within Which would encourage change in eating habits Percent of Total Total Count Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent within Which would encourage change in eating habits Percent of Total 47 46.1 71.2

Reduced portion sizes of foods 18 17.6 75.0

Other 9 8.8 60.0

Total 102 100.0 73.4

33.8 19 51.4 28.8

20.1 6 16.2 17.6

12.9 6 16.2 25.0

6.5 6 16.2 40.0

73.4 37 100.0 26.6

13.7 66 47.5 100.0

4.3 34 24.5 100.0

4.3 24 17.3 100.0

4.3 15 10.8 100.0

26.6 139 100.0 100.0

47.5

24.5

17.3

10.8

100.0

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A question in the survey inquired about changing eating habits, and what would help encourage change. Of those responding, 47.5 percent indicated that nutrition education can help change eating habits while, 24.5 percent agreed that availability of low cost exercise facilities and 17.3percent indicated reduced portion sizes of food can help change eating habits. The category other is selected by 10.8 percent of the respondents. The importance of more events that inform about healthy eating, free exercise facilities, reading labels, eating more fruits and vegetables, and eating less fast foods are underscored by the respondents.

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Table 8: Classification: Plan to Change Your Eating Habits Cross Tabulation Plan to change your eating habits Yes No 8 5 61.5 38.5 7.7 13.5 5.7 3.5 21 2 91.3 8.7 20.2 5.4 14.9 1.4 23 9 71.9 28.1 22.1 24.3 16.3 6.4 27 8 77.1 22.9 26.0 21.6 19.1 5.7 25 13 65.8 34.2 24.0 35.1 17.7 9.2 104 37 73.8 26.2 100.0 100.0 73.8 26.2

Classification Freshman (Count) Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total Sophomore (Count) Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total Junior (Count) Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total Senior Count Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total Graduate (Count) Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total Total Count Percent within Classification Percent within Plan to change your eating habits Percent of Total

Total 13 100.0 9.2 9.2 23 100.0 16.3 16.3 32 100.0 22.7 22.7 35 100.0 24.8 24.8 38 100.0 27.0 27.0 141 100.0 100.0 100.0

When the students were asked if they had planned to change their eating habits, 73.8 said yes and 26.2 responded no. The individuals who agreed can be said to have some knowledge of healthy diet, or unhappy with their current body build. Those who responded no either dont care about their body build, they could be physically fit, or are content with their current diet status.

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Table 9: Distribution Frequencies of Awareness of Obesity Problems Among Designed Groups Awareness Levels of Obesity Problems A lot Some Very None Total Little Total Number of respondents 74 51 11 5 141 Percent 52.5 36.2 7.8 3.5 100.0 Awareness of the Effects of Poor Diets Yes (# of resp.) 71 42 7 4 124 Percent 57.3 33.9 5.6 3.2 100.0 No (# of resp.) 3 9 4 1 17 Percent 17.6 52.9 23.5 5.9 100.0 Knowledge of Dietary Guidelines Yes (# of resp.) 52 23 0 3 78 Percent 66.7 29.5 .0 3.8 100.0 No (# of resp.) 22 28 11 2 63 Percent 34.9 44.4 17.5 3.2 100.0 Reading Food Labels Often (# of resp.) 33 15 4 0 52 Percent 63.5 28.8 7.7 .0 100.0 Seldom (# of resp.) 31 17 2 3 53 Percent 58.5 32.1 3.8 5.7 100.0 Never (# of resp.) 10 19 5 2 36 Percent 27.8 52.8 13.9 5.6 100.0

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Table 9: Continued

Distribution of Frequencies Awareness Levels of Obesity Problems A Lot Vegetable Consumption Habits Yes (# of resp.) Percent No (# of resp.) Percent Exercise Habits Daily (# of resp.) Percent Often (# of resp.) Percent Sometimes (# of resp.) Percent Seldom (# of resp.) Percent Never (# of resp.) Percent Plan to Change Eating Habits Yes (# of resp.) Percent No (# of resp.) Percent 56 64.4 18 33.3 15 60.0 23 56.1 26 55.3 8 38.1 2 28.6 58 55.8 16 43.2 Some 26 29.9 25 46.3 8 32.0 16 39.0 17 36.2 8 38.1 2 28.6 39 37.5 12 32.4 Very Little 3 3.4 8 14.8 1 4.0 2 4.9 3 6.4 4 19.0 1 14.3 5 4.8 6 16.2 None 2 2.3 3 5.6 1 4.0 0 .0 1 2.1 1 4.8 2 28.6 2 1.9 3 8.1 Total 87 100.0 54 100.0 25 100.0 41 100.0 47 100.0 21 100.0 7 100.0 104 100.0 37 100.0

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Table 10: Results of Chi-Square Tests of Awareness of Obesity Problems Among Designed Groups
2

Pearson Chi-Square Test DF P-Value -Stat 0.006 0.000 .021 .002 .045 .037

Likelihood Ratio Test DF P-Value -Stat 3 3 6 3 12 3 0.008 0.000 .009 .002 .258 .057

Awareness of the Effect of Poor Diet 12.40 3 Knowledge of Dietary Guidelines 22.51 3 Reading Food Labels 14.87 6

11.73 26.86 16.995 15.26 14.70 7.503

Vegetable Consumption Habits 15.11 3 Exercise Habits 21.38 Plan to Change Eating Habits 8.50 12 3

Analysis of Variance of Awareness of Obesity Problem The one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was applied to assess how the awareness levels of obesity vary among different groups that was defined according to a given group or categorical variable. ANOVA uses least squares to fit the linear models. The model of the one-way ANOVA is: (1)

Yij = m + a 2 + a 3 + ...+ a j + ...+ a J + e ij

Where Yij denotes the dependent variable-the awareness level of obesity, ranging from 1 to 4, for each individual i in the sample that belongs to group j (j=1,, J). The sample

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can be divided into J groups according to a categorical variable. For example, the sample can be divided into three groups: respondents who often, seldom and never read food labels. Where is the intercept to be estimated,
2 J

is fixed-effects coefficients to be

estimated, which measures the deviation of the average awareness level of group j from the average awareness of the omitted group. Group 1 is the omitted or base group to be compared with.
ij

represents the error term which is assumed to be independently and

identically distributed (i.i.d). Define Y j as the average awareness of obesity of group j, and

is the overall

average awareness of the whole sample. The total variation in obesity awareness among respondents in the sample is measured by the total sum of squares (TSS) as (2)

SST = (Yij - Y ) 2
i j

The between-group sum of squares (SS), or equivalently SS of the model (1) (SSR) measures the variation in obesity awareness between groups, and is defined as (3)

SSR = (Y j - Y ) 2
j

The variation of obesity awareness within a group is measured by the withingroup SS. It is also the SS of residuals of the model (1) (SSE), which indicates the variation in obesity awareness due to factors, observed or unobserved, that are not included in model (1). SSE is computed as SSE = SST SSR. R2 measures to what extent

the total variation in obesity awareness in the sample is explained by differences in obesity awareness between groups, i.e., R2 = SSR/SST.

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The F-test is applied to test whether the average awareness levels of obesity problems are jointly equal among groups. The null hypothesis of F-test can be written as
2= 3=

=J=0. The F-test is also equivalent to testing whether or not the between-

group variation in obesity awareness is significant in explaining the total variation in obesity awareness across individuals in the entire sample (Snedecor and Cochran, 1989). F-test statistic is the ratio of SSR/J 1 over SSE/N J. Furthermore, the F-test serves as a robustness check to the Pearson Chi-square test, which assumes specific distribution assumption. In comparison, F-test is not limited by specific distributions, and is applied in this study because the sample has sufficient number of observations. If the results of F-tests are consistent with those of the Pearson Chi-square test, it suggests that the findings are robust to the tests and test statistics. In the following analysis, the ANOVA models was estimated by designating the awareness of obesity problems as the dependent variables as specified in model (1), and selecting the knowledge of USDA dietary guidelines, awareness of the effects of poor dieting, reading of food labels, vegetable consumption, exercise habits, and intention to change eating habits, respectively, as the categorical variable by which the sample was divided into definite groups. The results reported in table 11 include (i) the sum-of-squares results of ANOVA, and R2 as the indicator for goodness-of-the-fit of the model; and (ii) the results, i.e., Fstatistics and the resultant p-values, for the F-test for the model significance or the significance of between-group differences.

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Table 11: ANOVA Results of Awareness Level of Obesity Problems Sum of Squares (SS) F-Test DF SS R2 F-Stat P-Value Awareness of the Effects of Poor Dieting Between-group (SSR) 1 Within-group (SSE) 139 Total (SST) 140 Knowledge of Dietary Guidelines Between-group (SSR) Within-group (SSE) Total (SST) Reading Food Labels Between-group (SSR) Within-group (SSE) Total (SST) Vegetable Consumption Between-group (SSR) Within-group (SSE) Total (SST) Exercise Habits Between-group (SSR) Within-group (SSE) Total (SST) Plan to Change Eating Habits Between-group (SSR) Within-group (SSE) Total (SST) 1 139 140 2 137 139 1 139 140 4 136 140 1 139 140 5.90 79.18 85.08 7.98 77.09 85.08 6.07 78.62 84.69 7.97 77.11 85.08 7.45 77.63 85.08 3.60 81.48 85.08 6.93 93.04 100 9.38 90.62 100 7.17 92.83 100 9.37 90.63 100 8.76 91.24 100 4.23 95.77 100 10.35 0.00

14.40

0.00

5.29

0.01

14.37

0.00

3.27

0.01

6.14

0.01

The first set of results show that the awareness levels of obesity are significantly heterogeneous, at a better than 1 significance level, between those who were aware that poor dieting could put health at risk and those who had no awareness. This result is consistent with that of previous Chi-squared tests. This between-group difference

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contributed a small 6.9 percent of the overall differences in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample. It should be noted that this implication is drawn based on the one-way ANOVA that analyzes one categorical variable, while leaving other observed and unobserved factors in the residual term in the model (1). This applies to all of the following analysis. The survey question was designed to see whether people would associate poor diets and its adverse effect with obesity. The premise is that individuals who are aware of obesity problems would consent that poor diets could put health at risk, and vice versa. Therefore, it is expected that variations in awareness of the adverse effects of poor diets would explain little of variations in awareness of obesity problems among respondents. The low R2 measure supports this hypothesis. The evidence in the frequency table, in addition, supports this hypothesis. Of all 141 respondents, 113 had a lot or some

awareness of obesity knew about the adverse effects of poor diets; and 5 had very little or none awareness of obesity also knew nothing about the adverse effects of poor diets. The second set of results indicates that respondents who had knowledge about dietary guidelines and who did not had a significantly different degree of obesity awareness. The null hypothesis of F-test that average awareness is equal between these two groups is rejected at a better than 1 significant level. R2 indicates that the difference in obesity awareness between two groups contributed 9.38 percent of the overall differences in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample. Though with moderate degree based on R2 measure, this between-group difference in obesity awareness has statistical significance in explain the total sample variation in obesity awareness

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according to F-test. The result of F-test, which suggests heterogeneity in obesity awareness between respondents with and without the knowledge of dietary guidelines, is consistent with that of the Pearson Chi-square test. The findings are, therefore, shown to be robust to different tests and test statistics. The results on distribution frequencies further show how the respondents in these two groups differ in their awareness of obesity problems. More than half of the respondents (78 out of 141 respondents) knew about the dietary guidelines, and majority of them had high (52 respondents) or some (23 respondents) awareness of obesity problems, and only a few had little (zero) (11 respondents) or none awareness of obesity problems. On the other hand, three-quarters of the rest 68 respondents, declaring no knowledge of dietary guidelines, were aware of obesity problem to some degree or more. Specifically, 22, 28, 11, 2 respondents had a lot, some, little, and none awareness of obesity. Taken the analysis of distribution frequencies and ANOVA together, the results and findings are summarized as follows. First, the results suggest that respondents had a higher degree of awareness of obesity problems than of dietary guidelines. Second, majority (88.65 percent) of the respondents had a lot or some degree of awareness of obesity problems, regardless of whether they knew or did not know about dietary guidelines. Therefore, the difference in obesity awareness between these two groups did not contribute much to explaining the overall variation across individuals in the sample. The modest R2 measure is, hence, expected.

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Third, the significant difference in obesity awareness between respondents with and without the knowledge of dietary guidelines, according to F-test, is observed within two awareness levels: (i) for those 74 respondents who were highly aware of obesity problems, two-thirds of them knew dietary guidelines; and (ii) all 11 respondents who knew very little about obesity problems did not know about dietary guidelines. This finding suggests respondents who knew about dietary guidelines were more likely to know a lot about obesity problems; and those who had no knowledge of dietary guidelines mostly likely knew little about obesity problem. The evidence implies a positive association between the knowledge of dietary guidelines and the awareness of obesity problem. The analysis above examines the linkage between the awareness of obesity problems with knowledge and awareness of poor or healthy diets; and the following analysis assesses whether and how the awareness of obesity problems is associated with observed behavior or actions, namely reading food labels, consuming vegetables, and exercise. This confirms the hypothesis that individuals who are more aware of obesity problems would be more likely to read food labels, consume vegetables on a daily basis, and exercise regularly. The ANOVA results pertaining to reading food labels show that the awareness of obesity is significantly different among these three groups that never, seldom, or often read food labels. Nevertheless, the difference in awareness levels among these three groups only explained 7.17 percent of the overall differences in awareness levels across individuals. From the results of the distribution frequencies, the evidence was not strong

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or clear that the awareness of obesity were different between those who made a point to read labels and who seldom read food labels. However, it was evident that the awareness of obesity differed among those who often read labels and those who never did. Therefore, the heterogeneity in the obesity awareness most likely is explained by the difference between those who often read labels and those who did not. The results show that individuals who were aware of obesity problem reflected their awareness to some extent in behavior as reading food labels in this case. Fortyseven out of 124 respondents (37.9 percent) who had some or a lot awareness of obesity said that they often made a point to read labels. Nevertheless, the rest seldom or never read food labels even though they were aware of obesity problems. On the other hand, the result was as expected that most respondents who had little or no awareness of obesity problems seldom or never read labels. Four respondents who had little awareness gave some surprising answers that they often read food labels, which might be motivated by other causes to read labels. In the case of vegetable eating habits, the R2 measure indicates that the difference in obesity awareness respondents who eat two servings of vegetables daily or not contributed only 9.3 percent of the total variations in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample; whereas other factors explain the rest 90.7 percent of the variations in obesity awareness. The results show that the null hypothesis of the F-test is rejected at the 5 significant level (P value = 0.000), which indicates that the awareness levels of obesity are significantly different between people with different vegetable consumption behavior. Taken together with R2 measure, the results suggest that obesity

40

awareness was significantly different between the two groups; however, this betweengroup difference contributed merely 9.3 percent of the overall differences in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample. Based on the results of distribution frequencies, this study found that awareness of obesity problems is positively associated with vegetable consumption habits, with a higher degree than with label behavior. That is 65.5 percent of respondents who had some or a lot awareness of obesity also consumed two servings of vegetables daily. In addition, 82 out of 87 respondents who consumed two servings of vegetables daily, and 43 out of 54 who did not consume two servings of vegetables daily all had a lot or some awareness of obesity problems. Hence, the difference in vegetable consumption behavior did not contribute much in explaining the differences in obesity awareness across individuals, and therefore, the low R2 measure. When the ANOVA test was ran on exercise habits, this study found a significant heterogeneity in obesity awareness among these five groups. The results show that the null hypothesis that average mean will be equal amongst groups of the F-test is rejected with a 1.4 percent significance level, which indicates that the awareness levels of obesity are significantly different between individuals whose exercise habits vary. This betweengroup difference contributed merely 8.7 percent of the overall differences in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample. The results of distribution frequencies show that individuals who were aware of obesity problem were very likely to engage in some exercise routine. Out of 125 respondents who had some or a lot of obesity awareness, 105 (84) were involved in exercises daily, often, or sometimes. In comparison, 50 or 8 out of

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16 respondents who had little or no awareness of obesity rarely or never exercises at all. Because the majority of respondents who practiced some exercise routine also had some or a lot of awareness of obesity problems, it is expected that differences in awareness levels among groups with different exercise habits would explain in a mild degree the overall variations in obesity awareness. Finally, the study examined whether and how individuals awareness of obesity problems would associate with individuals intention to alter their behavior, explicitly the survey question asks about individuals plan to change their eating habit. The awareness levels of obesity are significantly different between two groups of those who planned to change dietary habits and those who did not. This between-group difference contributed a minuscule 4.2 percent of the overall differences in obesity awareness across individuals in the sample. The results show that the more awareness of the obesity problem, the more individuals are prone to change their eating habits. For the 74 individuals who had a high degree of awareness, 58 indicated that they planned to change; and for the 51 respondents who had some awareness, 39 indicated they intended to change. The respondents who had a lot or some awareness of obesity problem may already have healthy eating habits. Therefore, the evidence that the rest of 28 who responded that they did not plan to change did not necessarily indicate that awareness did not affect their dietary habits. For those 16 respondents who had little or no awareness of obesity, seven indicated that they would change their eating habits.

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Conclusions: The analysis of distribution frequencies, Chi-squared tests, and ANOVA estimations were conducted to examine whether and how individuals awareness of obesity problems are associated with their knowledge about healthy or poor diets, with their observed behavior or life style, and with their intentions to change their current habit. First, the study examined the linkage between the awareness of obesity problems with knowledge and awareness of the adverse effects of poor diets and knowledge of the dietary guidelines. The results show that most respondents associated obesity problems with the adverse effects of poor diets. The results also indicate respondents who knew about dietary guidelines were more likely to know a lot about obesity problems; and those who had no knowledge of dietary guidelines mostly likely knew little about obesity problem. The evidence suggests that respondents had a higher degree of awareness of obesity problems and the adverse effects of poor diets, than their awareness of dietary guidelines. Consider dietary guidelines provide information on healthy diet, whereas obesity problems relate to the adverse effects of poor diet. It implies that respondents were more aware of obesity problems, poor diets and ensuing adverse effects, than of healthy diets and related effects. Second, this study assesses whether and how the awareness of obesity problems is associated with observed behavior or actions, namely reading food labels, consuming vegetables, and exercise. The hypothesis that individuals who are more aware of obesity problems would be more likely to read food labels, consume vegetables on a daily basis,

43

and exercise regularly was tested. The results show that individuals who were aware of obesity problems revealed their awareness in their life-style choices and behavior. Namely, for respondents who had some or a lot awareness of obesity problems, 84 engaged in exercises daily, often, or sometimes, 65.5 percent consumed two servings of vegetables daily, and 37.9 percent often made it a point to read food labels. Finally, the study evaluated the association between the awareness of obesity problem with stated intention to change behavior in the future. The findings indicate that individuals who had some and high awareness of obesity problems intended to make changes in their dietary habits, regardless whether or not they were practicing healthy diets at the time. In contrast, 50 of those who had very little or no awareness of obesity problem indicated that they had no plans to change their eating habits. This suggests that the awareness levels of obesity problem are likely to influence individuals intention to change their current dietary behavior. Table: 12 BMI Among Students Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent Valid .00 1.00 Total 37 104 141 26.2 73.8 100.0 26.2 73.8 100.0 26.2 100.0

Table 12 shows that of the 141 respondents 26.2 percent (37) of them are classified as obese, and the other 73.8 percent (107) did not respond to the weight question, are overweight, underweight or normal weight. Of the 26.2 percent it can be assumed that they have little or no awareness about the obesity issue, simply because they are obese.

CHAPTER V SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This study focused on the awareness levels of obesity amongst Tennessee State University Agricultural and Consumer science students. Chapter I described the obesity issue nationally and in Tennessee the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) states more than one third of adult Americans are obese. Approximately 300,000 deaths a year are due to obesity, which puts it as the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Economic cost of overweight and obesity to the United States in 2009 was $72 billion and $198 billion respectively. Of 6,346,105 people in Tennessee about 4.8 million are adults of which 36 percent are considered overweight and 32 percent are classified as obese. The above data show the magnitude of the obesity problem and the need to increase awareness about it. In chapter II literature pertaining to awareness levels of obesity, and measures that should be taken to address the issue amongst college students are examined. The literature review also helped in identifying research gaps involving university students in general and those attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities in particular. Chapter III outlined the methodology used in this study. The data were collected in spring semester of 2011 through face to face survey of graduate and undergraduate students in the school of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences. Hypothesis were developed; data were analyzed using SPSS-PC, in addition to generalizing descriptive

45

statistics, Chi-square test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to conduct quantitative analyses of the data. The first objective was assessing awareness levels of obesity amongst Tennessee State University Agricultural and consumer science students. The study provided that Tennessee State University agriculture and consumer science students who read food labels, exercise, have knowledge of healthy eating guidelines, were aware of the obesity problem. The second objective determined the obesity levels amongst the students in the two departments. The study found that 27 of the 141 respondents fall in the obese category. The final objective was to discuss the opinions of survey respondents of ways they feel that will raise awareness levels of obesity. The findings indicated that availability of more free exercise facilities, less consumption of food from restaurants, attending nutrition classes, and more consumption of healthier foods can contribute to dealing with the obesity issue. Recommendations for Future research This study can provide some insights on the subject of awareness about obesity and strategies to tackle it based on responses received from the study group/college students. An expanded study covering a mix of universities and states can yield comparative results. Given that factors contributing to obesity are many, a concerted effort involving different Government and non government agencies, communities,

46

university researchers, outreach professionals and schools, is critical to make progress in tackling the obesity problem.

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