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

Mathur, Charu; Stigler, Melissa; Lust, Katherine; Laska, Melissa
December 2014
Health Education & Behavior;Dec2014, Vol. 41 Issue 6, p663
Academic Journal
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.


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