Description of the Study Sample
Sixty one percent (N=172) of participants were female, with a mean age of 18.6 years (SD=0.04). The mean baseline BMI was 22.9 (SD=3.1). Males represented a larger proportion of the moderate-risk drinking group, than the non-drinking and low-risk drinking groups (p<.01). The proportion of European-Americans increased with increasing level of drinking group risk (p<.01). Thus, gender and race were controlled for in all subsequent analyses.
Relationship Between Eating and Activity Patterns and Risky Drinking
Among students reporting drinking in the past month (N=206; 73%), 65.7% were unaware of the calorie content of the alcoholic beverages they typically consumed. One-third (32.5%) of students reporting past thirty-day drinking indicated that alcohol increased their appetite. Similarly, 36.1% of students described eating large amounts following alcohol consumption (a pattern students ubiquitously label “drunk munchies”) on at least half of drinking episodes, and 39% reported being less healthy in their food choices after drinking, as compared to when they abstained from drinking.
Differences between the moderate-risk and low-risk drinking groups were found on four of the five EAUQ subscales: Eating Habits After Drinking (F(1,201) = 11.37, P=.001); Exercise Habits (F(1,201) = 7.78, P=.006); Eating Habits Before and During Drinking (F(1,201) = 9.06, P=.003); and Eating Habits the Following Day (F(1,200) = 5.13, P=.03).
As shown in , moderate-risk drinkers were more likely than low-risk drinkers to endorse eating more food after drinking, to eat junk food and make less healthy food choices, to have “drunk munchies”, and to indicate that alcohol increased their appetite. Moderate-risk drinkers were also more likely to endorse eating food before, during, and the day after drinking.
Relationship Between Weight Change, the EAUQ, and Risky Drinking
Correlation analyses found the Eating Habits After Drinking subscale was positively related to change in 1st semester BMI (r=.16, P=.02) and change in overall freshman year BMI (r=.14, P=.04). No other EAUQ factors were correlated with BMI. A priori planned contrasts demonstrated a significant effect of drinking group on 1st semester change in BMI (F(2, 258) = 3.3, P=0.04) and 2nd semester change in BMI (F(2, 259) = 3.2, P=0.04). As illustrated in , controlling for sex and race, during the 1st semester, moderate-risk drinkers had greater increases in BMI than low-risk drinkers (1.25 ± 0.15 vs. 0.77 ± 0.11, respectively; p=0.03). During the 2nd semester, moderate-risk drinkers showed a decrease in BMI compared to non-drinkers (−0.15 ± 0.11 vs. 0.21 ± 0.11, respectively; p=0.04). The proportion of individuals who were overweight/obese by the end of their 2nd semester suggests a trend (p=.06), with moderate-risk drinkers more likely to be overweight (22.0% of non-drinkers; 25.6% of low-risk drinkers; 27.0% of moderate-risk drinkers).
Mean BMI over the freshman year, by end-of-year drinking status.