Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Ingrid Lofgren


Obesity is a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality and affects over one-third of the American adult population. Eating rate and ghrelin concentrations are two variables that may play a role in obesity. An ancillary study of female college students examined the differences in eating rate (grams/second) and fasting plasma ghrelin concentrations (pg/mL) between weight status categories (normal weight body mass index (BMI) = 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, overweight BMI = 25-29.9 kg/m2 and obese BMI 30 kg/m2). Anthropometrics, clinical (blood pressure), and biochemical (glucose and ghrelin) data were assessed. Dietary information was obtained from three non-consecutive 24-hour recalls using the multiple pass method in conjunction with the Nutrition Data System for Research. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form. Primary outcomes were assessed using a one-way analysis of variance. Mean age, BMI and waist circumference for the 78 participants were 18.8±0.9 years, 27.9±5.5 kg/m2, and 87.4±13.9 inches, respectively. Mean eating rate and ghrelin concentrations were 0.26±0.13 grams (gms)/second and 216.2±269.9 pg/mL, respectively. Mean energy intake, food intake and physical activity were 1,731.9±507.1 kcals, 6,365.2±2,590.5 gms, and 2,542.6±2,107.5 MET-minutes/week, respectively. Mean energy density was 1.25±0.3 kcal/gm. There were no differences (p=0.49) in eating rate across weight status categories. Ghrelin concentrations were significantly different between overweight and obese groups; 217.1±106.6 vs. 150.1±77.4 pg/mL (p<0.05). Future studies in the college-aged population are warranted to determine the nature of these relationships in providing a basis for future studies in targets for weight maintenance and energy homeostasis.