2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
As American teenagers make their way to college campuses, many are aware of gaining the dreaded "freshman fifteen." Along with the gaining of weight in their college years, many students also begin to increase their alcohol intake upon entrance into a university. It becomes commonplace to drink to get drunk on the weekends in college, pumping the body with alcohol and many empty calories. The relationship between the consumption of alcohol and weight gain was examined in 200 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The participants included 137 females (age 19.99 ± 1.44 years) and 63 males (age 20.87 ± 1.43 years). The participants completed surveys with questions pertaining to alcohol consumption, weight, eating behaviors, and exercise behaviors. Out of the 200 students surveyed 77% of students reported consuming alcohol on a weekly basis, with the average amount of alcohol consumed being about 3-4 drinks per week. The average body mass index (BMI) of college students was increased from high school to college (22.61 ± 3.83 kg/ and 23.26 ± 3.67 kg/ ; p-value=0.08). Students who were infrequent drinkers (averaged 2 or less drinks per week) had a BMI increase of 0.63 kg/ (p-value=0.09) while in college while those who were frequent drinkers (averaged 3 or more drinks per week) had a BMI increase of 0.70 kg/ (p-value=0.19) while in college. While weight gain was apparent from high school to college, however results were not statistically significant. This research is important because it can help to target a different reason for weight gain in college students.