Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey Greene

Abstract

Background: Over one-third of the United States is obese. This weight status is associated with many negative health implications including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Female college students are a sub-group especially prone to excess kilocalorie (kcal) consumption, leading to weight gain. Consuming food at a fast pace has been associated with increased kilocalorie consumption. Interventions reducing eating rate may be an effective method to reduce kilocalorie consumption in female college students.

Objective: To determine if a 5 week curriculum designed to reduce eating pace would decrease consumption rate (kcal/minute) and total kcal eaten at a control meal, in addition to decreasing kcal and consumption rate as reported with 24 hour food recalls.

Methods: In a randomized control trial with pre-post testing, experimental group subjects participated in 5 weeks of group classes, and the control group received no treatment. Groups underwent multi-pass dietary recalls, laboratory standardized lunches, anthropometric measurements, and surveys. Data were used to assess laboratory and free living eating rate and kcal consumption, along with change in anthropometrics and survey scores. Analysis of variance was used to compare within-group and between-group differences in eating rate for pre and post measurements.

Participants/Setting: Ten overweight and obese female students were recruited from colleges in the Providence area through classroom announcements, flyers, and mass emails.

Results: No significant time by group or within group differences were found for eating rate, meal duration, or energy intake. There were significant between group differences at baseline for free living eating rate. Both groups had a slower eating rate in the free living condition than the laboratory condition.

Conclusion: There was no significant change from pre to post for eating rate for either group. Overall, this research gathered valuable observations for the use of the intervention in the urban environment. With a larger sample size the effectiveness of an eating rate intervention may be assessed.

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