Date of Award
Master of Science
Food and Nutrition
Previous studies have shown that overweight and obesity in youth and adolescents is one of the leading risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Besides being "at–risk” for T2DM, the possibility also exists for development of major psychological issues. Thus, overweight adolescents who are "at–risk” for T2DM may have increased levels of emotional eating, and poor self–esteem and body image. The design of this pilot study ("R. U. A Healthy Kid”) was a prospective cohort of 17 free–living middle school students "at–risk” for T2DM. Each participant was previously screened and found to have three or more risk factors for T2DM. The intervention targeted four main topics: Family Meals, Healthy Snacks, Physical Activity and "Unique U” (emotional eating, self–esteem, body image and stress management). The "Unique U” component forms the basis of the current study. After three months in the program, participants’ self–esteem significantly increased since the beginning of the program. Many relationships were found between self–esteem, body image, stress and emotional eating questions. Community– based lifestyle interventions that include issues such as improving self–esteem, body image, stress and emotional eating are critical in helping adolescents who are "at–risk” for T2DM.
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