Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Over the past thirty years, obesity has become a health epidemic, affecting a large percentage of the United States population, leading to a decrease in quality of life related to comorbid illnesses, which are directly correlated to being overweight or obese. Due to these comorbid illnesses, obesity places a large fiscal burden on the healthcare system, directly associated with treating related diseases and indirectly through lost production due to “sick days”. In 2013, the American Medical Association ruled to classify obesity as a disease, which has brought about an increased need for preventative health measures. Steps toward obesity prevention are taking place on the community, state, and federal levels through research, education, wellness programs, and policy reform. This thesis examines the attitudes of UMaine faculty and staff towards obesity and the amount of control individuals feel they have over their own health. A survey was sent out to approximately 2,300 employees, to assess the preventative health practices they currently adhere to (i.e. diet, sleep, and exercise), and the participant’s BMI were calculated. Correlation studies were then run using SPSS version 21, to examine the relationship between preventative health practices and BMI. The study found that 54.4% of the employee population is considered either overweight or obese, with 86% of participants admitting that they have “a lot” or “complete” control over their own health, and 83% of people agreeing that obesity is preventable. These findings were then compared with the current preventative health services the University of Maine offers its employees. This thesis aims to highlight the importance of health and wellness at the local level to enact change in obesity rates on a national level.

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Nursing Commons