Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food and Nutrition

First Advisor

Long Roth, Sara

Second Advisor

Null, Dawn


Approximately 32% of college-aged individuals are overweight or obese, yet few weight loss programs have effectively motivated this population to adopt a healthier lifestyle. A majority of this population frequently uses the social networking site Facebook. This study examined the impact of a Facebook social support group on weight loss efforts of college students. A total of 24 students were randomly assigned to either the intervention group, which consisted of a Facebook support group, or control group after attending a one-time weight loss class. Assessments were taken at baseline and four weeks. Of participants in this study, 83.3% were Facebook users. All but two participants were female with 47.8% identifying as black, non-Hispanic and 39.1% as white, non-Hispanic. Most participants were considered obese or overweight with 39-inch median waist circumference for women and 44-inch median waist circumference for men. The primary outcome was a mean weight loss of -3.55 ± 4.25 lbs. for those in the intervention group compared to -1.61 ± 3.24 lbs. for the control group after four weeks. Though results were not statistically significant, the intervention group lost more weight than the control group. Results indicate the potential for an innovative weight loss aid that utilizes an online site already integrated into the lifestyle of college students.




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