Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Health Education

First Advisor

Welshimer, Kathleen

Abstract

There is little published literature on the health and nutrition status of inland river towboat crewmen. The purpose of the study was to better understand how life on the towboat affects health status, the crews' perceived benefits and barriers to good health, specifically eating practices and physical activity, and motivation to meet U.S.C.G. physical and BMI guidelines. The study utilized a cross-sectional design to explore relationships among variables utilizing a survey and body composition measurements. One hundred ninety-four crewmen participated. Findings indicate crewmen are at increased risk of chronic disease related to anthropometric measurements, lack of aerobic activity, and unhealthy eating practices. Surprisingly, though, men indicated they like healthy foods and would eat them if served. Therefore, men are not as opposed to menu changes as originally thought. Additionally, the towboat environment must be more supportive of healthy behaviors to promote change. Furthermore, given the towboat culture and tradition, a successful intervention must be based on an ecological approach, addressing individual-level, socio-cultural and environmental-level influences.

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