• Changes in Body Mass, Body Composition, Physical Activity and Nutrition from the First to the Fourth Academic Year in University Students

      Olansky, Shai; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Background: The transition to university life is a critical time of change, often accompanied by the adoption of negative lifestyle habits, including an unhealthy diet and a decrease in physical activity. Lifestyle changes during university may result in a positive energy balance and a decrease in diet quality, which can lead to weight gain, a percent body fat in the overweight/obesity range, and increased cardiometabolic disease risk over time. The purpose of the current study was to investigate changes in body mass and composition from 1st to 4th year among university students, and to assess whether changes in physical activity and dietary intake were related to observed changes in body mass and composition. Methods: Thirty-eight participants completed food frequency and activity questionnaires and had their body mass measured and body composition assessed using bioelectrical impedance analysis. These measurements were obtained at the beginning (fall) and end (spring) of 1st year and the end (spring) of 4th year. Results: During the 1st year, body mass and percent fat increased by 3.2 kg and 2.1%, respectively (P<0.01), while daily energy intake was maintained and daily energy expenditure decreased (-435.2 kcal/day, P<0.01). Between the end of the 1st year and the end of the 4th year, students continued to increase their body mass, but this increase was smaller (+2.2 kg, P=0.05) than the change occurring during the 1st year. Additionally, percent fat and energy intake did not change while energy expenditure increased from the end of 1st year to the end of 4th year (+208.6 kcal/day, P<0.01). Conclusions: Increases in percent body fat during university occurred only during the 1st year. However, students were not able to reverse these gains by the end of the 4th year.
    • Identifying Changes in Physical Activity Behaviours That Lead to Weight Gain in First Year University Students

      Thomas, Aysha Martinah; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The transition to university is a critical time period for weight gain, possibly explained by a decrease in physical activity. The aim of this study was to identify changes in physical activity as students’ transition from high school to university and to assess if they relate to body weight and composition. Three hundred one (71 males, 230 females) first year Brock University students participated. Anthropometric and body composition data were collected in September and April. Students also filled out questionnaires assessing their physical activity behaviours. Significant increases in weight, BMI, and body composition were observed across the sample, accompanied by reductions in physical activity output and increases in factors preventing physical activity participation. However, the reductions in physical activity were not correlated with the changes in body composition. Therefore, in our sample, changes in physical activity behaviours are not the main cause of weight gain in first year university students.