Multiple types of dieting prospectively predict weight gain during the freshman year of college

Michael R. Lowe, Rachel A. Annunziato, Jessica Tuttman Markowitz, Elizabeth Didie, Dara L. Bellace, Lynn Riddell, Caralynn Maille, Shortie McKinney, Eric Stice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


The freshman year of college is a period of heightened risk for weight gain. This study examined measures of restrained eating, disinhibition, and emotional eating as predictors of weight gain during the freshman year. Using Lowe's multi-factorial model of dieting, it also examined three different types of dieting as predictors of weight gain. Sixty-nine females were assessed at three points during the school year. Weight gain during the freshman year averaged 2.1 kg. None of the traditional self-report measures of restraint, disinhibition, or emotional eating were predictive of weight gain. However, both a history of weight loss dieting and weight suppression (discrepancy between highest weight ever and current weight) predicted greater weight gain, and these effects appeared to be largely independent of one another. Individuals who said they were currently dieting to lose weight gained twice as much (5.0 kg) as former dieters (2.5 kg) and three times as much as never dieters (1.6 kg), but the import of this finding was unclear because there was only a small number of current dieters (N=7). Overall the results indicate that specific subtypes of dieting predicts weight gain during the freshman year better than more global measures of restraint or overeating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dieting
  • Disinhibition
  • Emotional eating
  • Freshmen
  • Obesity
  • Prediction
  • Prevention
  • Restrained eating
  • Weight gain


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