A Statistical Analysis of Weight Gain During the Freshman Year of College
This study examined freshman weight gain and its contributing factors, with the objective being to determine what environmental and societal changes in the college freshman experience associate with weight gain. We designed a 27-question survey which asked participants about their lifestyles during their freshman year in college. Responses were obtained through social media from 95 student participants across 37 United States colleges and universities. The resulting data distribution of weight gained among surveyed freshmen was right-skewed with a median weight gain of zero and an interquartile range of 6.5 lbs. In particular, 52% of the survey respondents reported no weight gain. Accordingly, we modeled the data via a zero-inflated negative binomial regression analysis to investigate what student characteristics prior to and during his/her freshman year are associated with weight gain and likewise determine an estimated probability of no weight gain in the freshman year. Our study and statistical model found significant associations between freshman weight gain and the choice of major, average amount of nightly sleep, one’s relationship with his/her parents, and gender.
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