Examination of a Peer-Led, Non-Diet Nutrition and Exercise Adherence Pilot Program on a College Campus
A non-equivalent control group design was utilized to investigate the effect of a non-diet, peer-led, tailored nutrition and exercise adherence intervention (FitU) on exercise stages of change, intuitive eating, and barriers to healthy eating and exercise in college females. Female students (n=17) who enrolled in the 8-10 week program served as the intervention group and general education students who did not receive an intervention served as the control group (n=16). Surveys were administered pre and post intervention over two consecutive semesters. Utilizing ANCOVA analyses, reported barriers to eating healthy decreased (p=.008) and one intuitive eating subscale, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons improved significantly (p=.01) in the intervention group compared to control from pre to post. Further, 65% of the intervention group reported an improvement in exercise stage of change and none relapsed compared with only 20% improvement and 40% relapse in the control group from pre to postintervention. The majority of the intervention participants also reported improved dietary (82.4%) and exercise (76.5%) patterns/thoughts. Peer-led and individually tailored, non-diet nutrition and exercise interventions may effectively promote healthy behaviors among college females.