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College-based obesity prevention interventions

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: Educators Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Insufficient Evidence
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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College-based obesity prevention interventions aim to set long-term behavioral patterns during the transition to adulthood through behavioral education efforts (CG-Physical activity).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased physical activity
Improved physical fitness
Improved weight status
Improved health-related knowledge

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether college-based obesity prevention programs increase physical activity or physical fitness (CG-Physical activity, CG-Obesity). Available evidence suggests that college-based obesity prevention programs may increase physical activity and physical fitness in the short-term, but gains fade over time (CG-Physical activity, Hivert 2007). Online obesity prevention interventions combined with feedback may prevent weight gain among college freshman (Gow 2010, Levitsky 2006) and web-based nutrition education programs for college students may increase nutrition knowledge (Watt 2006). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.


United States

The Wellspring Academy is a college-based obesity prevention program that offers the opportunity to earn college credits at Reedley College while focusing on weight loss and healthy living.

Citations - Description

CG-Physical activity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Physical activity. Accessed on March 6, 2018

Citations - Evidence

CG-Obesity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Obesity. Accessed on March 1, 2018
CG-Physical activity - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Physical activity. Accessed on March 6, 2018
Gow 2010 - Gow RW, Trace SE, Mazzeo SE. Preventing weight gain in first year college students: An online intervention to prevent the “freshman fifteen.” Eating Behaviors. 2010;11(1):33–9. Accessed on February 22, 2018
Hivert 2007 - Hivert M-F, Langlois M-F, Bérard P, Cuerrier J-P, Carpentier A. Prevention of weight gain in young adults through a seminar-based intervention program. International Journal of Obesity. 2007;31(8):1262–9. Accessed on February 22, 2018
Levitsky 2006 - Levitsky D, Garay J, Nausbaum M, Neighbors L, DellaValle D. Monitoring weight daily blocks the freshman weight gain: A model for combating the epidemic of obesity. International Journal of Obesity. 2006;30(6):1003–10. Accessed on February 22, 2018
Watt 2006 - Watt M, Franko DL, Cunningham JA, et al. Benefits of web-based nutrition education for college students. American Public Health Association (APHA) 134th Annual Meeting and Exposition, November 4-8 2006. Accessed on February 22, 2018

Citations - Implementation

Wellspring Academy - Wellspring Academies. Wellspring Academy college program. Accessed on February 22, 2018

Page Last Updated

January 10, 2014