UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE
Award Title: Biopsychosocial determinants of weight gain in Black first-year college women
Description, Objectives, & Purpose: In light of ongoing health disparities in obesity among African American women, researchers are concerned with identifying modifiable health behaviors that may help towards eliminating these inequities. Little research has examined these factors within the specific context of the college transition nor compared whether attending a predominantly White institution (PWI) versus an HBCU affects risk for weight gain in the first year of college. Therefore, this project is designed to both develop novel measures of ethnocultural stress that may be unique to the African American female experience and to assess whether these new measures along with other psychosocial instruments (e.g., body image evaluation, etc.) meaningfully predict changes in lifestyle factors (i.e. eating behaviors and physical activity levels) that in turn may impact body composition (e.g., weight, percent body fat, waist-to-hip ratio) in this transitional year. Female students entering UNC Charlotte (a PWI) and our two partnering HBCU sites (NCCU & NC A&T) will be recruited and followed during their first year of college.
Expected Outcomes: We anticipate that this study will illuminate specific psychosocial and behavioral risk factors for weight gain that could then be used in the subsequent development of a culturally-sensitive healthy weight management/positive body image promotion program for entering female university students from ethnically diverse backgrounds. This grant funding is also expected to help increase the research capacity/infrastructure of the institutions involved.