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ERIC Number: EJ1176732
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1932-5037
The Relationship between Stress and Maladaptive Weight-Related Behaviors in College Students: A Review of the Literature
Lyzwinski, Lynnette Nathalie; Caffery, Liam; Bambling, Matthew; Edirippulige, Sisira
American Journal of Health Education, v49 n3 p166-178 2018
Background: College students are at risk of the "freshman 15," consisting of weight gain during their university studies. Stress has been linked with unhealthy dietary intake and weight in adults in the general literature. Little is known about the key patterns of dietary intake, eating behaviors, and physical activity in relation to stress in university students because this has not been previously thoroughly reviewed. Purpose: The aims of this review were to assess these relationships along with weight gain in order to inform future targeted interventions. Methods: A review of the literature was conducted in December 2016 for relevant studies meeting inclusion criteria. Results: There was a positive association between stress and maladaptive weight-related behaviors, in particular, emotional eating and binge eating. There was also support for a positive association between stress and unhealthy dietary intake as well as an inverse association with healthy dietary intake in college students. Increases in these maladaptive behaviors and food intake were also observed before examinations. Evidence was weaker for physical activity because there were few studies. Evidence was also mixed for an association between stress and weight in college students. Discussion: Interventions should be developed and tested that target stress in order to promote adequate dietary intake and healthy eating behaviors in students. Future studies could also longitudinally follow students to assess weight changes over longer periods of time. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health Educators should raise awareness of the potential detrimental effects of stress in college on weight-related lifestyle behaviors in students. Ideally this should be done when students commence college to prevent weight gain. Offering support on campus for stress and lifestyle coaching is also desirable.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A