Excess weight gain tends to occur in young adulthood. However, research examining effective weight-related interventions for this age group has been limited. As one of seven trials in the EARLY Trials consortium (Early Adult Reduction of weight through LifestYle intervention), the CHOICES Study (Choosing Healthy Options in College Environments and Settings) tested effects of a technology-integrated, young adult weight gain prevention intervention. It was a randomized controlled trial with assessments at baseline (2011) and 4-, 12- and 24-months post-intervention initiation and included 441 participants (ages 18-35) who were students at three Minnesota community colleges. The 24-month intervention included a 1-credit academic course and social networking and support online intervention. This analysis examined effects on 12 secondary behavioral outcomes across three domains: diet (fast food, sugary beverages, breakfast, at-home meal preparation), physical activity/screen time (minutes and energy expenditure in leisure time physical activity, television viewing, leisure time computer use) and sleep (hours of sleep, time required to fall asleep, days not getting enough rest, difficulty staying awake). The intervention resulted in significant reductions in fast food (p = 0.007) but increases in difficulty staying awake (p = 0.015). There was limited evidence of other behavior changes at 4 months (0.05 < p < 0.1) in the expected direction but differences by treatment condition dissipated over time. Analyses examining summary treatment effects (i.e., modeling effects on all behavioral outcomes simultaneously) indicated significant overall effects (p = 0.014), largely driven by 4-month results (p = 0.005). Additional research is needed to understand effective obesity prevention among young adults, particularly when addressing multiple weight-related outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. This research was supported through a grant from NHLBI (1 U01 HL096767-01). Additional salary support was also provided by Grant Number 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 NIH. The sponsor did not play a role in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication.
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- Weight gain prevention