Disadvantaged, Non-College Bound Young Adults at Risk for Excessive Weight Gain

Nutritionists develop weight management program relevant to low-income population, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Philadelphia, PA, January 21, 2014

Young adults are at particularly high risk for excessive weight gain.  Although weight gain intervention for young adults attending two- or four-year colleges has been studied extensively, there has been little research into effective weight management programs targeting low-income, non-college bound young adults. A team of registered dietitian nutritionists from the University of Maine, in collaboration with scientists from multiple institutions from around the US, have now developed a weight management intervention program that is particularly relevant for disadvantaged young adults. Their results are published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Low-income young adults have immediate needs related to housing, employment, and financial security. "Since disadvantaged young adults may have to satisfy basic needs, they are not likely to focus on the future, which limits the effect of any attempts to create motivation for behavior change by emphasizing long-term health benefits," according to lead researcher Jennifer R. Walsh, PhD, RD, of the University of Florida.

Researchers used a lengthy planning model to be sure of success for their weight-management intervention program for low-income young adults at a vocational training center in Maine. By using a community-based participatory research approach, they hoped to develop a program that focused specifically on the needs of this underserved population. Quality of life and health-related topics were important, as were issues related to weight.

A steering committee of researchers and community members was assembled to guide the process. They also conducted focus groups and interviews to be sure everyone's voice was heard. The PRECEDE model (Predisposing, Reinforcing, Enabling, Constructs in Education/Ecological Diagnosis and Evaluation) was useful to identify or "diagnose" the concerns of these young adults.  They also prioritized factors that the young adults were willing and able to change. These results were used to develop a weight management intervention truly made for low-income young adults, taking into account their specific needs and the resources available. This program is the first of its kind developed using this model.


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Notes for editors

"Using PRECEDE to Develop a Weight Management Program for Disadvantaged Young Adults," by Jennifer R. Walsh, PhD, RD; Adrienne A. White, PhD, RD; Kendra K. Kattelmann, PhD, RD, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.005, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or jnebmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Margaret Nagle at +1 207 581 3745 or nagle@maine.edu.

An audio podcast featuring an interview with Jennifer R. Walsh and information specifically for journalists are located at www.jneb.org/content/podcast. Excerpts from the podcast may be reproduced by the media; contact Eileen Leahy to obtain permission.

About the Journal of Nutrition and Behavior (www.jneb.org)
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB), is a refereed, scientific periodical that serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in nutrition education and dietary/physical activity behaviors. The purpose of JNEB is to document and disseminate original research, emerging issues, and practices relevant to nutrition education and behavior worldwide and to promote healthy, sustainable food choices. It supports the society's efforts to disseminate innovative nutrition education strategies, and communicate information on food, nutrition, and health issues to students, professionals, policy makers, targeted audiences, and the public.

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior features articles that provide new insights and useful findings related to nutrition education research, practice, and policy. The content areas of JNEB reflect the diverse interests of health, nutrition, education, Cooperative Extension, and other professionals working in areas related to nutrition education and behavior. As the Society's official journal, JNEB also includes occasional policy statements, issue perspectives, and member communications.

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Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
jnebmedia@elsevier.com