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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5980698, 6 pages
Research Article

The Role of Race and Gender in Nutrition Habits and Self-Efficacy: Results from the Young Adult Weight Loss Study

1The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA
2Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Janna D. Stephens

Received 23 January 2017; Revised 21 March 2017; Accepted 4 April 2017; Published 13 April 2017

Academic Editor: Aron Weller

Copyright © 2017 Janna D. Stephens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Overweight and obesity are a massive public health problem and young adults are at high risk for gaining weight once they enter a college. This study sought to examine gender and race as they relate to nutrition habits and self-efficacy in a population of diverse young adults from the Young Adult Weight Loss Study. Participants were 29% males, 38.7% white, 33.8% Asian, and 12.9% African American. Males had lower self-efficacy for healthy eating (mean score = 92.5, SD = 17.1) compared to females (mean = 102.3, SD = 13.7, ). Males had higher consumption of sodium compared to females (4308 versus 3239 milligrams/day, ). There were no significant differences across racial subgroups in self-efficacy for healthy eating () or self-efficacy for exercise (). Higher self-efficacy scores for healthy eating were significantly associated with less total sodium (, ), greater fruit consumption, and less saturated fat. Our results indicate that weight loss interventions should be individualized and that there may be specific areas to target that are different for men and women. Additional larger studies should be conducted to confirm if racial differences exist across nutrition habits and self-efficacy and to confirm gender differences noted in this study.