Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Tanya Horacek
Dr. Lynn Brann
Nutrition Science and Dietetics
Sport and Human Dynamics
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Sciences and Engineering
Comparative Nutrition | Nutrition
My Honors Capstone Project is entitled “The Differences Between a Sample of Syracuse University Male and Female Students on a Variety of Health Parameters.” In the fall of 2007, Dr. Tanya Horacek, as part of a larger project involving several universities, collected extensive nutrition- and health-related data from Syracuse University students. Dr. Horacek allowed me to access this data and analyze it for significant differences between male and female students.
I chose to work with this data for my Capstone Project because it is a common belief that the college years are a time of accelerated weight gain and because the United States as a whole is currently in the midst of an obesity epidemic. My analysis of this data can help predict factors that may lead to weight gain in college and will be used by Dr. Horacek to help design an obesity prevention program at Syracuse University.
The health parameters that I looked at include Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, weight dissatisfaction, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, and Eating Competency test scores (a survey that measures an individual’s attitudes about eating and food, acceptance of food, internal regulation abilities, and abilities and resources for managing food context). I chose to use these parameters because they are commonly used in nutrition research and understood to be validated tools of nutrition evaluation.
Numerous research studies in the past have used these parameters to examine samples of college students. Overall, these studies have found that students do in fact gain some weight in their first couple years of college. Possible contributing factors that have been identified include low fruit and vegetable consumption and low frequency of physical activity. Reasons for these two behaviors are numerous. Some studies have found differences between genders for these and other related behaviors.
Because of this, I decided to conduct statistical analysis tests to discover any significant differences between male and female students for all health parameters examined and to look for correlations between parameters within each gender (Is a person’s score in one parameter related to their score in another parameter?).
I found significant differences between men and women for waist circumference, weight dissatisfaction, eating competency, and vigorous physical activity. I also found numerous correlations between health parameters. A couple of such connections are: the higher a person’s waist circumference, the more likely they were to be dissatisfied with their weight for both genders and the higher a person’s BMI, the more likely they were to be dissatisfied with their weight for both genders.
Foltzer, Stephanie, "The Differences Between a Sample of Syracuse University Male and Female Students on a Variety of Health Parameters" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 359.
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