Assignment: Health Comm Class

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Assignment: Health Comm Class

Assignment: Health Comm Class

Health Communication Campaign

COMM 515/393

December 4, 2018

Emad Alsehey

Nicholas Humes

Dawna Mughal

Aeshah Owaydhah

Kristen Webster


To promote healthy behaviors among freshmen students at Gannon University

Situation Analysis

Dawna’s feedback/suggestion Dec 2:

Introductory statement here to connect the secondary  research and primary research to assess the situation and the problems. For example

We analyzed the situation by reviewing the literature to identify the studies that have been conducted on Freshman 15.  Specifically, we looked for the weight gain, obesity rates in youth and the consequences of obesity pointing to the importance of early prevention and intervention and to the factors that contribute to weight gain in students during their first year in college. We also conducted primary research on campus by surveying a small group of freshman students for the same purpose.  The results of secondary and primary results follow.

Then Dawna will add her literature review here.

I have a substantial  narrative as background to discuss the problems and describe the situation.

The results of the primary research will follow.

The freshman 15 refers to the major concern that students start gaining weight and experience a large increase in their body mass index (BMI) during their first year of college as a result of the unhealthy meal choices, large meals portions, snack consumptions and lack of physical activity. (Mihalopoulos, N. L., Auinger, P., & Klein, J. D., 2008). Studies were conducted on freshmen from both genders male and female to determine the effectiveness of gender on freshman 15 phenomena. This research is studying the impact of freshmen 15 phenomena on both genders while considering their housing status if they live on campus or if they are commuters. Also, it is studying their physical activities and nutrition choices with keeping in mind the dramatic increase in obesity among US population.(Mihalopoulos, N. L., Auinger, P., & Klein, J. D., 2008).

Researchers were divided regarding the impact of the weight that gained during the Freshmen year and resulted in the freshman 15 phenomena. Some researchers suggested that freshmen gain as much as 15 Ibs. during their first year of college, where others suggested that the gain is so minimal. (Mihalopoulos, N. L., Auinger, P., & Klein, J. D., 2008).


Secondary Research:

What is “Freshman 15”?

It is a belief and widely popularized in the media that students will gain 15 lbs. during their first year in the university (Vella-Zarb, 2010).

Studies showed that freshmen’s weight gain varied widely, but not as much as expected in the “Freshman 15” phenomenon. Weight gain in one study was small (3 lbs.) but significant. Majority (2/3) of the freshmen in the study gained weight.  An important predictor was living on campus. Stress was not associated with weight gain.

Although the weight gain is small, it needs attention because this weight gain often continues to later adulthood (Thompson, 2013) Vadevonlower, 2015)

Obesity Rate

Obesity is a national epidemic.  It is a concern because it is associated with chronic health problems (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases) and increases health care cost (CDC 2018).

(Will include the numbers/statistics to each of these later)


Obesity rates are high in children and adolescents and young adults (CDC).

Higher prevalence in African Americans and Hispanics, compared to White. Lowest prevalence among Asians.

Gender: Higher prevalence in women

Increasing prevalence in college-aged students

Definition of obesity

Uses body mass index, a rough measure; not diagnostic of health status, but is used often because it is practical (CDC, 2018)


Body mass index

Weight Status

Below 18.5   Underweight

18.5 – 24.9    Normal or Healthy Weight

25.0 – 29.9    Overweight

30.0 and Above Obese

Factors associated with freshmen’s weight gain (McKinney, 2013, Abraham, 2018)

“The students are knowledgeable that consuming fast food, soda, and processed food

are unhealthy and they contain additives. They indicated strong agreement to keep themselves

hydrated and choosing food because of taste preference. Even though majority admitted eating

fresh fruits, a significant number consume processed food such as chips, cookies, and cereal

based on convenience. Smartphone resources, vending machine use, and drinking soda were

their least frequently used habits.

Conclusion: Students have a fair knowledge of nutritional requirements for health; however,

food choices they make are not necessarily healthy. Convenience and taste of food were priority.” (Abraham, 2018)

Lifestyle behaviors (diet and physical activity)

Low intake of fruits and vegetables,

Environmental factors: Buffet eating style, frequent fast foods, living arrangement (knowledge and skills to choose and prepare healthy foods) (McKinney et al, 2013)

“Students identified the barriers to not eating healthy food as: limited time, reliance on unhealthy

foods, and limited knowledge about healthy foods. Temptation, lack of discipline, and being

bored were reported as contributing to unhealthy eating. The participants also felt that the

unhealthful foods served at university cafeterias increased the difficulty of eating healthy,

maintaining a healthy weight, and not overeating. Students believed purchasing healthy foods

was expensive, which hindered them from eating healthy. Participants stated that eating in

moderation, watching portion size, and not exceeding a daily calorie limit were the choices

required to regulate food intake and maintain a healthy weight.” (McKinney, 2013)

Majors in college (Humanities compared to Business and Engineering and sciences)

Adequate sleep

Family relationships (Parental support)

Messages that parents communicate (about their own weight and the weight of their children) to their children: Have emotional effect on the children and how children struggle with their weight. (Thompson, 2013).

Some students fear Freshman 15 and develop eating disorder because they restrict what they eat to avoid weight gain.

“Root Causes

• Eating late at night

• Eating unhealthy cafeteria food

• Keeping unhealthy snacks and food on hand in the

dorm room

• Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

• Energy drinks

• Cheap food coupons and offers

• Fast food delivery to dorm rooms

• Skipping meals

• Lack of exercise

• Poor nutritional skills and education

• Poor sleep habits and sleep deprivation

• Not understanding what their bodies need nutritionally to be healthy”

(Julie Janeway,n.d.)


“Make it about health, not about looks,

image, or anything else

Don’t skip meals.

Avoid eating unhealthy cafeteria food.

Don’t linger.

Don’t linger.”

Plus several more

(Julie Janeway,n.d.)

Knowing contributing factors to weight gain can help academic institutions design intervention programs for freshmen

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