Evaluating Hours of Sleep and Perceived Stress on Dietary Cognitive Restraint in a Survey of College Students

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College students, eating behaviors, health, nutrition, obesity, weight management


Objective: The objective of this study was to examine associations of sleep quality and quantity, food security, and physical activity with eating behaviors that may be associated with college weight gain. Participants: College students enrolled in multiple sections of a general education class completed an online survey in January 2016 (n = 153; 18-52 years of age). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted. Outcome variables included emotional eating (EE), uncontrolled eating (UE), and cognitive restraint (CR) as measured by The Three Factor Eating Questionnaire Revised. Bivariate analyses, ANOVA, and multiple linear regression were completed with significance at p≤.05. Results: Higher EE was associated with higher stress levels and female sex (p <.001 and p=.02) and higher UE scores were associated with higher perceived stress (p<.001) while lower UE scores were associated with tobacco use (p=.03 regression, p=.098, bivariate). Higher CR was associated with higher parental education and use of relaxation methods. Higher CR also was associated with perceived stress, but this relationship differed depending upon freshmen status and amount of physical activity, and a relationship with sleep was observed that differed depending upon freshmen status. Conclusion: Interventions to help college students reduce stress and improve sleep may improve eating behaviors.

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Journal of American College Health

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