Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Adrienne A. White

Second Committee Member

Richard A. Cook

Third Committee Member

Philip A. Pratt


As ,the most rapid weight gain for adults seems to be between ages 20 to 30, the objective of this study was to identify motivators and barriers to maintaining healthy weight in young adult college males. A mixed-method approach was used to investigate perceptions about weight/weight gain; body size/shape/image; eating; and physical activity in relation to weight maintenance. Males, 18-24 year-olds, were recruited through the University of Maine email system. They were directed to an online survey that included the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (dietary restraint, α=.90; disinhibition, α=.87; hunger, α=.82), physical activity scale and demographic questions. Subjects (n=47; mean age=20.3 years SD=1.7) completed the survey and were assigned to one of six focus groups. A trained moderator used a 15-question, semi-structured interview guide to conduct three face-to-face and three online synchronous focus groups. Face-to-face audiotapes were transcribed and verified; and online transcripts were printed. Statistical analyses included chi-square analysis, Spearman's Rho-Order Correlation, Pearson's Product- Moment Correlation, and Student's t-test. Focus group transcripts were coded and verified, analyzed for emerging themes, and organized using matrix displays. Summary statements were created for each question. The males were slightly overweight, based on the mean body mass index of 25.9±3.9 kg/m2. The number of times males attempted to lose weight was positively associated with the number of days they were physically active, r(44)-0.299,0