Weight gain has become a serious concern for many adults, especially for young women in affluent societies, as it affects their health and emotional well-being. Concerns about weight gain are likely to develop for adolescent girls. Young women who go on to college experience drastic lifestyle changes such as living in a dormitory and eating in all- you-can-eat cafeterias. The resulting weight gain is commonly known as “The Freshman 15.” The current study examined female undergraduate students’ (N = 1,406) health-related lifestyles. Structural equation modeling specifically examined parental influences on their daughters’ health-related behaviors, body mass index (BMI), and self-esteem. Both paternal and maternal tendencies to lead a healthy lifestyle had significant direct effects on college-aged daughters’ likelihood of leading a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle predicted BMI and self-esteem. Compared to paternal effects, maternal effects contributed more to their daughters’ health-related behaviors. Numerous ways of promoting healthy lifestyles such as feminist and self-monitoring approaches are discussed.
|Keywords:||BMI, Father, Mother, SEM, Exercise, Diet, College Students|
Associate Professor, Human Environmental and Family Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA