A Two-Generation Study of Body Mass Index, Energy Balance and Specific Physical Activity of College Students and Their Respective Parents Living in the Same Household at Los Angeles, California, U.S.A

By Liang, Ying; Lee, Judy et al. | College Student Journal, March 2007 | Go to article overview

A Two-Generation Study of Body Mass Index, Energy Balance and Specific Physical Activity of College Students and Their Respective Parents Living in the Same Household at Los Angeles, California, U.S.A


Liang, Ying, Lee, Judy, Tam, Chick F., Bridges, Elizabeth, Keating, Xiaofen D., College Student Journal


The purpose was to compare the differences in body mass index (BMI), energy balance (EB) and specific physical activity (SPA) between 30 CSULA college students (Y) and their respective parents(O) living in the same household at Los Angeles, California, U,S.A. Each student completed a 24-hour dietary record with SPA journal, and the same for his/her parent. SPA was divided into: light (LA) (1.4-3.0Kcal/kg/hr); moderate (MA) (3.1-5.3); severe (SA) (5.4-7.4); and very severe (VSA) (7.5 or over). The Y had significantly lower BMI than the O (24.0 kg/[m.sup.2] for Y vs. 27.0kg/[m.sup.2] for O). However, no statistical differences were found between the two groups in total energy expenditure (Y: 2552.6 [+ or -] SD 629.6 vs. O: 2564.3 [+ or -] 570.1kcal) and total energy intake (Y: 1818.1 [+ or -] 954.7 vs. O: 1837.4 [+ or -] 901.8kcal). Both had comparable negative EB in one day. There were no significant differences in the time and total calories consumed for LA and MA between Y and O. Only a few subjects in the two groups performed the severe or very severe physical activity. Although most subjects remained negative energy balance for the day, their high BMI, inadequate moderate physical activity, and lacking of severe/very severe physical activity were a health concern.

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Overweight and obesity are increasing rapidly in the United States (Mokdad et al, 1999), leading many Americans to the risk of obesity-related diseases. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002, 65% of U.S. adults are classified as overweight or obese based on their body mass indexes (BMI) (Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2005). Obesity is defined as having an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass (Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention, 2002). Overweight and obesity in adults are associated with increased risk of chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus and hypertension (US Department of Health and Human Services Publication, 1988). According to Olshansky et al. (2005), obesity in the U.S. today will lead to a reduction of 4-9 months in life expectancy at birth and the impact of obesity on reduction of life expectancy is larger than the negative impact of all accidental deaths combined.

Coronary heart disease encompasses approximately 35% of all deaths among Asian-Americans and 29% of all death among Hispanic-Americans (National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, 2005). Asians and Hispanics are two to six times more likely to have Non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM, or Type II Diabetes) than non-Hispanic white Americans in the United States (Carter, Pugh, & Monterrosa, 1996). Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans comprised a large proportion of the U.S. population (Bureau of Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1982 & 1992). In the year 2003, the student population of the California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) was composed of 22.1% Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, 52.4% Latinos (Hispanics), 16.2% white Americans and 9.2% African Americans and others (Office of Institutional Research and Public Affairs, CSULA, 2003). The student body of CSULA in general, can reflect the ethnic composition of the population in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

College students are commonly under stress from different sources, such as maintaining a high level of academic achievement, adjusting to a new social environment, dealing with financial problems, etc. (Ross, 1999), which might place them at higher risk of heart disease (O'Connor, Gurbel, & Serebruany, 2000). Between male and female college students, there were differences in dietary atherogenicities, energy balance, and physical activity levels (Tam et al., 1996). Whereas there were a few studies to survey a combined effect of physical activity and dietary kcal patterns in a family setting, we chose CSULA college students and their respective parents living in the same household for the study of their BMI, energy balances (EB) and specific physical activities (SPA). …

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