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Article Title

WHOLE-BODY VIBRATION TRAINING TO PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN IN COLLEGE STUDENTS: EARLY RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL FINDINGS

Abstract

At least 44 percent of adult Americans will be obese by 2030. When young adults go off to college and leave the structured environment of a household, they often adopt unhealthy behaviors, such as unhealthy eating and getting less exercise, leading to the risk of weight gain, popularly referred to as the “Freshman Fifteen”. Unless interrupted, this pattern of weight gain in early adulthood can lead to obesity in later adulthood. Whole-body vibration training (WBVT) is a novel alternative approach to structured exercise for improving body composition for physically limited, time constrained, and/or unmotivated persons, but has not been studied yet in college students. PURPOSE: To determine if WBVT is a feasible and effective method of preventing weight gain in physically inactive students enrolled in undergraduate nursing or other 4-year programs. METHODS: Male (n=5) and female (n=28) undergraduate students were randomized to control (n=14, age=28.1 + 7.1, BMI=28.1 + 5.3) or WBVT groups (n=19, age= 28.5 + 9.0, BMI=27.5 + -3.8). The WBVT group completed three training sessions per week, progressing from low to high frequencies (30-50 Hz) and amplitudes (2-4mm), for six months. Control subjects were asked to maintain their usual diet and exercise habits. A 2 x 3 RM-ANOVA was used to detect significant group x time interactions for weight and waist circumference measured at baseline, 3 and 6 months. RESULTS: Retention in the study was 75% and adherence to training was 60%. Weight differed significantly over time between groups at 6-months (p<0.02, mean difference=4.48lbs, SE=1.79), but not so for WC (P=0.131, mean difference=-2.71cm, SE=1.75). CONCLUSION: Our preliminary findings suggest that WBVT may be both a feasible and effective method for preventing weight gain among inactive undergraduate students. Future studies should assess the effectiveness of self-monitored WBVT in the college recreation center setting.

Supported by NIH grant 1R21HL115251

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