Differences in weight-related behavioral profiles by sexual orientation among college men: A latent class analysis

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6 Scopus citations


Purpose. To identify and describe homogenous classes of male college students based on their weight-related behaviors (e.g., eating habits, physical activity, and unhealthy weight control) and to examine differences by sexual orientation. Design. Study design was a cross-sectional sample of 2- and 4-year college students. Setting. Study setting was forty-six 2- and 4-year colleges in Minnesota. Subjects. Study subjects comprised 10,406 college males. Measures. Measures were five categories of sexual orientation derived from self-reported sexual identity and behavior (heterosexual, discordant heterosexual [identifies as heterosexual and engages in same-sex sexual behavior], gay, bisexual, and unsure) and nine weight-related behaviors (including measures for eating habits, physical activity, and unhealthy weight control). Analysis. Latent class models were fit for each of the five sexual orientation groups, using the nine weight-related behaviors. Results. Overall, four classes were identified: "healthier eating habits" (prevalence range, 39.4%-77.3%), "moderate eating habits" (12.0%-30.2%), "unhealthy weight control" (2.6%-30.4%), and "healthier eating habits, more physically active" (35.8%). Heterosexual males exhibited all four patterns, gay and unsure males exhibited four patterns that included variations on the overall classes identified, discordant heterosexual males exhibited two patterns ("healthier eating habits" and "unhealthy weight control"), and bisexual males exhibited three patterns ("healthier eating habits," "moderate eating habits," and "unhealthy weight control"). Conclusion. Findings highlight the need for multibehavioral interventions for discordant heterosexual, gay, bisexual, and unsure college males, particularly around encouraging physical activity and reducing unhealthy weight control behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
At the time of this study, N.A.V. was a graduate school trainee with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The study was supported primarily by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award no. R21HD073120 (PI: M.N.L.). Further support on this project was also provided by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases award no. T32 DK083250. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© SAGE Publications.


  • College Males
  • Dietary Intake
  • Health focus: physical activity, nutrition, and weight control
  • Manuscript format: research
  • Outcome measure: behavioral
  • Physical Activity
  • Prevention Research
  • Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing
  • Setting: state
  • Sexual Orientation Disparities
  • Strategy: skill building/behavior change and culture change
  • Study design: nonexperimental
  • Target population age: adults
  • Target population circumstances: education and geographic location
  • Unhealthy Weight Control
  • Young Adults


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