Date of Award

Summer 6-13-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Sarah T. Henes, PhD, RD, LD

Second Advisor

Caroline L. Dotts, MSA, ACSM HFS

Third Advisor

Barbara L. Hopkins, MMSc, RD, LD


Background: The greatest increase in obesity rates have been seen with young adults in college due to their unhealthy dietary habits and behaviors. Interventions at this life stage may reduce the development of obesity related health concerns. There is an evident need for nutrition and lifestyle interventions yet there is limited research on the implementation of comprehensive nutrition programs for college students.

Objective: This research study has a dual focus. We aim (1) to describe nutrition services offered through the Georgia State University Student Recreation Center to include nutrition assessment in a college population. Specifically, measured energy needs (Korr ReeVue™ Portable Indirect Calorimeter) were compared with estimated energy needs (predictive equations) and nutrition software (BioEx Nutrition Maker Software© Plus 2.0). In addition, this study aims (2) to survey what types of nutrition services are offered by campus recreation centers that are part of the Urban 13 research-sharing institutions.

Methods: (1) Twenty-three healthy weight (n=8) and overweight/obese (n=15) 18 -37 year old males (n=11) and females (n=12) that were members of the Georgia State University student recreation center and had undergone indirect calorimetry. Paired samples t-tests were used to compare the means of measured resting metabolic rate (RMR) with RMR estimated from the Harris-Benedict and Mifflin-St. Jeor equations. Measured and estimated RMR were used to calculate total energy expenditure (TEE). Paired sample t-tests were also used to compare the means of each calculated TEE. A p-value ≤ 0.05 defined significance. (2) The 21 campus recreation centers of the Urban 13 were asked to complete a five-question survey by email or phone. Survey results were tabulated based on result frequencies.

Results: (1) A statistical significance (p < 0.003) was found when comparing the means of measured RMR (1627 ± 393 kcal/day) with RMR estimated with the Harris Benedict equation (1781 ± 321 kcal/day). Significant differences (p < 0.001) were found between TEE calculated via measured RMR (2153 ± 534 kcal/day) and TEE calculated with estimated RMR via the Harris-Benedict equation (2354 ± 420 kcal/day) and Nutrition Maker© Plus 2.0 (2623 ± 582 kcal/day). Results were not statistically significant when comparing the means (p=0.308) of measured RMR (1626 ± 393 kcal/day) with RMR estimated with the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation (1677 ± 287 kcal/day), or between the means (p=0.317) of calculated TEE from measured RMR (2153 ± 534 kcal/day) and the Mifflin St-Jeor equation (2218 ± 381 kcal/day). (2) Of the 21 schools evaluated, seven stated nutrition services were provided through the campus recreation center. Of the seven schools, five staff an RD at the recreation center, and two schools, including Georgia State University, staff an RD and offer indirect calorimetry.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to describe nutrition services offered at a campus recreation center. In the absence of indirect calorimetry, the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation is the best method to estimate energy needs for a college population. Nutrition services provided by an RD are limited at campus recreation centers of the Urban 13. Furthermore, only two campuses, including Georgia State University, provide nutrition assessment via indirect calorimetry.