Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Tidwell, Diane K.

Committee Member

Hunt, Barry P.

Committee Member

Briley, Chiquita A.

Committee Member

Clary, Jane M.

Committee Member

Mixon, Melissa J.

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Mikel, W. Benjy

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


Obesity is a national epidemic with approximately 66% of American adults overweight or obese, and more than 30% of Mississippians having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Only 23% of adults eat the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and 75% have sedentary lifestyles. Diet and exercise play pivotal roles in preventing chronic diseases. Mississippi In Motion (MIM) is a research based, peer-reviewed curriculum for a 12-week community program designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity, encourage social support, and build self-efficacy. Program objectives are for participants to consume 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables, engage in 30 minutes of physical activity daily, and attend weekly educational sessions. Individuals form teams for social support, participate in a health fair and complete pre- and post-evaluations. MIM has been implemented on two university campuses with students, staff and faculty completing the program (n=283). A six month follow-up survey was sent to the 283 participants with 96 returned (34% response rate). Data were collected from pre-evaluations, post-evaluations and follow-up surveys, in addition to anthropometric data. SPSS was used for statistical analysis. In 12 weeks, body weight decreased from 83.52 kg±20.96 SD to 81.92 kg±20.61 SD (p<.001) and BMI decreased from 29.40 kg/m2±6.79 SD to 28.84 kg/m2±6.69 SD (p<.001). Physical activity levels increased as well as fruit, vegetable, and water intakes (p<.001). Independent t-tests determined that six months after program completion, individuals (n=96) continued to consume fruits and vegetables similar to amounts reported in the post-evaluations; however, participants had not maintained physical activity behaviors when compared to post-evaluations. These results indicate MIM was successful with improving eating habits that continued six months after participants completed the program but should emphasize physical activity maintenance. Seventy-eight percent reported they were willing to participate in MIM again if offered on campus. Universities are in a unique situation to develop long-term strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among students, faculty and staff. Mississippi leads the nation in obesity and MIM is having a positive impact on improving health status in Mississippi.