Peer Mentoring to Prevent Obesity in First Year College Students: Get Fruved

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Objective: The Get Fruved project is a peer-led, social marketing and environmental intervention promoting healthful lifestyles (dietary, physical activity, and stress management) to ultimately reduce the development of obesity among older adolescents. College students are at increased risk for weight gain in their first year of college. This weight gain often tracks into adulthood and may be associated with the development of numerous chronic diseases. The peer-led portion of the Get Fruved Project involves upperclassmen at four state universities (WV, FL, SD, and TN) working with freshmen to help them prevent weight gain through promoting overall healthful behaviors in their first year in college. Upper classmen were recruited in the fall of 2014 and took a multi-university online course in the spring of 2015. Course content was developed by experts from around the country on the topics of healthful eating, physical activity, stress management, sexual health, effective communication, crisis management, environmental influences on health, healthy body image, substance abuse prevention, residence life and financial health, and leadership. A peer matching algorithm that was statistically predictive of friendship was generated by student/close friend dyads (N=97) taking a survey of 20 “fun” questions (e.g., What is your favorite color? If you could be any animal what would it be? If you won the lottery, what would you do?). Incoming freshmen participants (N=534) took the same survey in fall 2015 and were matched to the trained peer mentors (N=181) based on their responses; the match ratio ranged between 1:1 and 1:6. Peer mentors are working with their mentees in the 2015–2016 school year. Monthly data on frequency and quality of contact are being collected. Effectiveness of the peer mentoring component of the Get Fruved project will be assessed via surveys and interviews with peer mentors and mentees. Successful components of the peer led approach and the peer matching algorithm can be incorporated into future interventions to more effectively influence healthful behaviors associated with weight management in this population.

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The FASEB Journal




Abstract Number: 895.1

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