Term of Award

Summer 2006

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Anthony V. Parrillo

Committee Member 1

Joanne Chopak-Foss

Committee Member 2

Laura Gunn

Committee Member 3

Padmini Shankar

Committee Member 4

Stuart H. Tedders

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between Health Belief Model constructs as they related to dietary behaviors in a sample of university women 18-to-25 years of age (n=182). A cross-sectional, non-experimental design was utilized. Independent sample t-tests compared the mean of body mass indices (BMI) to dietary risk and race. Odds ratios amassed relationships between race and healthy food choices. Nearly one-third (32.4%) of participants were either overweight or obese. Black females had significantly higher BMI than white females; however, dietary risk from less-than-adequate fruit and vegetable consumption and consumption of high-fat foods were not related to race. Focus group participants (n=0) were not concerned about their risks of obesity and its sequelae, or appeared only somewhat concerned. However, all felt obesity-related illnesses were severe. None perceived a direct threat, although several admitted friends and fmaily members might be at-risk, ultimately resulting in a behavior change.

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