Effectiveness of a weight control program focused on changing eating habits in overweight or obese students
Excess weight and obesity are important risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cardiovascular system diseases, and cancer. In this quasi-experimental research, the study on the effects of the weight control program focused on changing the eating habits of overweight or obese students in the Department of Food Technology and Services at Suan Dusit University, Lampang Campus. The purposive sampling method was used to select 40 students with greater than standard waist circumferences (males > 90 cm; females > 80 cm) and body mass index ≥ 23 kilograms / square meter, who volunteered and were willing to participate in this study. The participants were divided into two groups of equal numbers: a control group and an experimental group. The control group took part in three activities over a period of three months. The activities included knowledge provision, group discussion, distribution of self-study media, distribution of menus, and group activities with an excursion to a local open market and supermarket. Assessment was based on the changing of food and weight control knowledge, variables based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, waist circumference, body weight, and body mass index within the experimental period.
Results showed that the experimental group scored higher on their knowledge of food and weight control, food control behavior and intention, awareness of weight control ability, and belief in social norms in food control than those participants in the control group (p < 0.01). However, these results were not statistically significant when compared with the control group. The weight control program, with a focus on changing eating habits of overweight or obese students, was able to increase their knowledge, intention, and awareness of weight control factors, including changing eating habits. This enabled those in the group to reduce their waist circumference, body weight, and body mass index during the period of the experiment.
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