Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Lorraine Lanningham-foster


Obesity is a complex disease that has arisen from multifaceted interactions of environmental and heritable factors. Apart from the heritable factors, the basis for the rise in overweight and obesity is due to an energy imbalance. This energy imbalance is a result of an increase in calories consumed, a decrease in regular physical activity, or both. Even though there are a multitude of reasons that have contributed to obesity such an energy imbalance, lack of sleep, medication, type of job, busy lifestyle, these areas have not been as extensively explored. Therefore, the main focus of this thesis was the four primary contributors: screen time, diet, exercise and environment and their influence on an individual's weight status from childhood through adulthood. To explore these areas two studies were performed. The purpose of the first study was to determine the difference in the amount of snack food a young adult consumed while watching television without interruptions or while watching television and multitasking (chatting). Overall, the goal of this study was to understand the impact, if any, of multitasking on caloric intake of snack foods in young adults. The purpose of the second study was to implement a school-based health intervention (Let's Go 5-2-1-0) that focuses on improving child behaviors related to screen time, diet, exercise and environment. The findings of these studies suggest that the environment in which an individual lives in is complex and that it is difficult to disrupt unhealthy behaviors. Ultimately, obesity prevention rather than treatment is an important strategy for decreasing overall obesity rates in the United States.


Copyright Owner

Erin Thole



Date Available


File Format


File Size

119 pages

Included in

Nutrition Commons