Eat, sleep,work, play: Associations of weight status and health- related behaviors among young adult college students

Virginia Quick, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Adrienne A. White, Onikia Brown, Sarah Colby, Suzanne Shoff, Barbara Lohse, Tanya Horacek, Tanda Kidd, Geoffrey Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Purpose. To examine relationships of sleep, eating, and exercise behaviors; work time pressures; and sociodemographic characteristics by weight status (healthy weight [body mass index or BMI , 25] vs. overweight [BMI 25]) of young adults.

Design. Cross-sectional.

Setting. Nine U.S. universities.

Subjects. Enrolled college students (N = 1252; 18-24 years; 80% white; 59% female).

Measures. Survey included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), Satter Eating Competence Inventory (ecSI), National Cancer Institute Fruit/Vegetable Screener, International Physical Activity Questionnaire, Work Time Pressure items, and sociodemographic characteristics.

Analysis. Chi-square and t-tests determined significant bivariate associations of sociodemographics, sleep behaviors, eating behaviors, physical activity behavior, and work time pressures with weight status (i.e., healthy vs. overweight/obese). Statistically significant bivariate associations with weight status were then entered into a multivariate logistic regression model that estimated associations with being overweight/obese.

Results. Sex (female), race (nonwhite), older age, higher Global PSQI score, lower ecSI total score, and higher TFEQ Emotional Eating Scale score were significantly (p , .05) associated with overweight/obesity in bivariate analyses. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that sex (female; odds ratio [OR]=2.05, confidence interval [CI] = 1.54-2.74), older age (OR = 1.35, CI = 1.21-1.50), higher Global PSQI score (OR=1.07, CI=1.01-1.13), and lower ecSI score (OR=.96, CI=.94-.98), were significantly (p , .05) associated with overweight/obesity.

Conclusion. Findings suggest that obesity prevention interventions for college students should include an education component to emphasize the importance of overall sleep quality and improving eating competence. (Am J Health Promot 2014;29[2]:e64-e72.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e54-e72
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Behaviors
  • Eating
  • Health
  • Health focus: weight control
  • Outcome measure: behavioral
  • Prevention research. manuscript format: research
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing
  • Setting: school
  • Sleep
  • Strategy: skill building/behavior change
  • Study design: nonexperimental
  • Target population age: Adults
  • Target population circumstances: education/income level
  • Weight
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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