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Highlights from the June 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

CHICAGO The June 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles. For more information or to receive a copy of a Journal article, e-mail

"Freshman 15" May Be More Like "Freshman 5"

The "Freshman 15," the notion that students gain 15 pounds during their first year of college, may overstate students' actual weight gain, according to researchers at the University of Guelph, Canada. In a sample of 116 first-year female students, the average weight gain was 5.29 pounds.

While the students reported gaining less weight than the "Freshman 15," the researchers point out: "It is important to recognize that the increase of 5.29 lbs. occurred over a period of just six to seven monthsWeight gain at this rate over an extended period of time could lead to overweight/obesity and is certainly cause for concern."

The students completed a dietary assessment using diet and lifestyle questions adapted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (Canada) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The study found students reported increases in their body mass index from an average of 22.3 to 23.1; average percent body fat went from 23.8 to 25.6; and average waist circumference increased from 30.27 to 31.25 inches.

The proportion of participants with BMI measurements classified as either normal or underweight decreased from 79 to 75 percent and from eight to six percent, respectively. The proportion of students who were classified as overweight (BMI above 25) increased from 15 percent to 22 percent, while those who were obese (BMI at or above 30) remained constant at 3 percent.

Employees' Attitudes Affect Restaurants' Food Safety Practices

The attitudes of foodservice workers toward safety practices have a direct effect on foodborne illness occurrences in restaurants, according to researchers from Kansas State University.

The researchers surveyed 190 foodservice employees in 31 restaurants across three Midwestern states on their knowledge of and attitude toward three food safety measures that have the most substantial impact on public health: hand washing, using thermometers and proper handling of food contact surfaces. Only employees whose jobs directly involved food preparation tasks participated.

The researchers conclude that providing workers with training that does not target their attitudes may not improve food safety results. "While emphasis should be placed on training, it is also important to educate employees regarding positive outcomes of food safety such as decreasing patrons' risk of food borne illness, reducing the spread of microorganisms and keeping the work environment clean."

Additional research articles in the June Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:

  • Physical Activity Is Associated with Risk Factors for Chronic Disease across the Adult Life Cycle for Women

  • Motivators and Barriers to Healthful Eating and Physical Activity among Low-Income Overweight and Obese Mothers

  • Motivational Interviewing in Internet Groups: A Pilot Study for Weight Loss.


Contact: Jennifer Starkey
American Dietetic Association

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