Jasper Sanford1, Amber Chelette1, FACSM 1Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas Kinesiology & Leisure Studies

In this study, we assessed the physical health of college students in their first year. The obesity epidemic has continued to grow in America. Young adults are the most susceptible to weight gain as they embrace new lifestyles. PURPOSE: FitU is a program that has been implemented into the core class, Concepts of Wellness, at Ouachita Baptist University. The program was designed in order to combat the weight gain commonly known as the “freshman-15” while promoting a healthier way of living through proper diet and exercise. METHODS: At the beginning of the semester,168students are given a basic fitness evaluation including height, weight, BMI, and estimated 1RM leg press. During the progression of the semester, students are encouraged through incentives to exercise and record physical activity in an online app. Each activity is awarded approximately 1 point per minute. The top scoring individuals are then randomly selected for prizes at the end of each week and the top scoring group is awarded a prize at the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, another fitness assessment is performed and data are compared. RESULTS: At the conclusion of the study, it was found that on average, the students gained1.9pounds and that their estimated 1RM on leg press increased by 0.194 points on average. Typically, amongst the data, the highest point earners either lost the most or maintained body weight while also increasing their 1RM the most. CONCLUSION: The first year at university is vulnerable time for students to gain weight, but with a program encouraging healthier lifestyle choices, weight gain is kept to a minimum while also bringing about strength hand higher fitness levels. In future studies, the research should also include a control group that does not participate in the program to give better comparison on a similar population.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This work was partially funded by a Henry Academic Enrichment Grant from Ouachita Baptist University.

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