Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2012


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Nutrition and Health Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Candace Kohnke. Lincoln, NE: December 2012

Copyright © 2012 Emily N. Estes



BACKGROUND: There is a limited amount of knowledge of the impact current and goal weights of college students have on their attitudes surrounding weight and physical activity.

OBJECTIVE: To examine weight/body image and physical activity attitudes of students and whether those attitudes correlate current and goal weights of students.

SETTING: The questionnaires utilized were completed between the years 2006-2011 at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

PARTICIPANTS: Male and female students from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

RESULTS: The mean BMI of all participants (n=2255) was 23.8 ± 4.1; for females (n=1403) 23.0 ± 4.0; and for males (n=852) 24.9 ± 3.9. The BMI classifications overall were 3.1% (n=71) were underweight, 67.1% (n=1512) were normal weight, and 29.9% (n=672) were overweight or obese; among the females, 4.6% (n=65) were underweight, 72.9% (n=1039) were normal weight, and 21% (n=299) were overweight or obese; within the male group, 0.7% (n=6) were underweight, 55.3% (n=473) were normal weight, and 43.5% (n=373) were overweight or obese. Significantly more females responded with a higher degree of negative responses about weight and body image attitudes and physical activity attitudes (p = < 0.05). Females wanted to lower their weight significantly more than males (p = < 0.05). Overall, as the self-reported current weight of participants increased, so too did the degree of risk in their attitudes about weight and body image. Based on self-reported goal weights, males were more likely to have a higher degree of negative responses associated with physical activity attitudes than their female counterparts.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The results of this study indicate that both genders are subject to some degree of dissatisfaction as they are report a higher degree of negative responses in relationship to weight, body image, and physical activity. Based on these results, females may need programming geared towards weight and body image issues while programming for males may be more effective if geared towards physical activity attitudes.

Advisor: Candace Kohnke