A Latent Class Analysis of Weight-Related Health Behaviors Among 2- and 4-Year College Students and Associated Risk of Obesity

Charu Mathur, Melissa Stigler, Katherine Lust, Melissa Laska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Little is known about the complex patterning of weight-related health behaviors in 2- and 4-year college students. The objective of this study was to identify and describe unique classes of weight-related health behaviors among college students. Latent class analysis was used to identify homogenous, mutually exclusive classes of nine health behaviors that represent multiple theoretically/clinically relevant dimensions of obesity risk among 2- versus 4-year college students using cross-sectional statewide surveillance data (N = 17,584). Additionally, differences in class membership on selected sociodemographic characteristics were examined using a model-based approach. Analysis was conducted separately for both college groups, and five and four classes were identified for 2- and 4-year college students, respectively. Four classes were similar across 2- and 4-year college groups and were characterized as “mostly healthy dietary habits, active”; “moderately high screen time, active”; “moderately healthy dietary habits, inactive”; and “moderately high screen time, inactive.” “Moderately healthy dietary habits, high screen time” was the additional class unique to 2-year college students. These classes differed on a number of sociodemographic characteristics, including the proportion in each class who were classified as obese. Implications for prevention scientists and future intervention programs are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-672
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 24 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The senior author’s (Laska) time was supported by Grant No. K07CA126837 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Society for Public Health Education.


  • 2-and 4-year college students
  • audience segmentation
  • co-occurrence of health behaviors
  • latent class analysis with a distal outcome
  • obesity
  • young adults


Dive into the research topics of 'A Latent Class Analysis of Weight-Related Health Behaviors Among 2- and 4-Year College Students and Associated Risk of Obesity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this