Exploration of Weight Gain and Obesity in Adult Populations: A Mechanistic, Clinical and Educational Approach

Team Mentor:

Dr. Vivian Haley-Zitlin, Associate Professor,
Dept. Food Science and Human Nutrition


  • Search and evaluate the scientific evidence for factors and associationsrelated to the phenomenon of weight gain and obesity onset and maintenance in college-age and other adult populations.

  • Relate findings using a global perspective from genetics to education.
  • Explore complications and propose prevention and treatment strategies to address weight gain and obesity.

Title: Development, Delivery and Assessment of a Worksite Nutrition Education Intervention

Students: Amy Silver, Caitlan Schanne, Charles Johnson, Cole Vanson, Caitlyn White, Josh Downey, Carolina McTier, Shannon Brennan, Sally Gooch, Chelsea Graham

More than one-third of US adults are obese, with South Carolinians among the most obese. Americans need healthy lifestyles. Nutrition students provide information that can change people's lives. Our Obesity Creative Inquiry Team developed an educational program (Basics to Balance) with six lessons (calories, physical activity/water, carbohydrates/sugar, protein, fats/oil, and vitamins/minerals) with PowerPoint slideshows, handouts, and activities. Our team delivered this 6-week program at a local worksite, Fall 2011. Pre- and post-intervention, height, weight, waist circumference, BP, oxygen levels and subject's body composition (InBody 520) were measured. Sixty-three individuals (30 male/33 female) began the program. Weekly lessons were taught to 10-15 workers/group. Post intervention, average weight loss in males was 11.5 lbs., compared to females, 3.7 lbs.; more men reached normal BMI levels. Percent body fat did not change significantly in either gender, but food choice selections improved in both. Results support on-site nutrition interventions and provide insight for future improvements.