Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 1

Jim McMillan

Committee Member 2

Daniel Czech

Abstract

The dramatic increase in obesity has captured the attention of the government, private foundations, and the media for several years. One media outlet, reality television, a social phenomenon, has pushed the epidemic into the public eye (Finklestein, Brown, & Evans, 2008). One of the most popular weight loss programs on television is the Biggest Loser. The popularity of the television show has been a possible catalyst of the epidemic of similar weight loss programs in community gyms, recreation settings, and even within universities around the United States. The purpose of this study was to conduct a follow up assessment with participants who had formerly participated in the Spring 2008 or Fall 2008 weight loss program. By conducting a follow up study exercise adherence could be measured, and the reasons for continuing or discontinuing exercise were analyzed. There were 11 participants in this study (n=9, females; n=2, males) whose ages ranged from 26 to 67 years of age. Participants completed semi-structured focus group sessions, a demographic questionnaire, fitness assessment follow up, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Self-Efficacy Measure, Social Physique Anxiety Scale, Temptation Not to Exercise Scale, and an Exercise Staging Algorithm. The follow up of the fitness assessment revealed significant changes in the following circumferences: neck, arm, forearm, waist, abdomen, hips/buttocks (p < 0.01). There was a significant difference between the initial completion of the weight loss program and present (p < 0. 01). Results of the psychological instruments supported the focus groups discussions that issues such as time management, family circumstances, and work related issues can cause an individual to have lack of confidence in their ability to exercise. The focus groups results supported results found in the psychological instruments. Many participants expressed reasons for not exercising such as excuses that related to time management, loss of support from the group and trainers, and a feeling that they knew they could exercise but this did not result in long term adherence. The results of this study demonstrated that participants do not typically continue exercise adherence following a short term weight loss program.

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