Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The association between watching “The Biggest Loser” TV series and physical activity readiness to change in middle-aged overweight/obese women
by Musselman, Amy Elizabeth, M.S., Northern Illinois University, 2011, 172; 1506331
Abstract (Summary)

Physical inactivity in the American population is contributing to the current obesity epidemic. Within the past decade, the media has found ways to bring this complex topic to prime time television, specifically through The Biggest Loser reality weight loss series.

This current cross-sectional, observational study used a non-probabilistic, convenience sample of employees from Northern Illinois University's Division of Finance and Facilities. The purpose of this study was to determine if individuals who watch The Biggest Loser have an increased readiness to engage in physical activity and have a higher physical activity self-efficacy than those individuals who do not watch The Biggest Loser. The survey instrument was sent to participants via email, which had a link to Survey Monkey. The Physical Activity Stages of Change Questionnaire and the Physical Activity Self-Efficacy Questionnaire were utilized. Motivation, confidence, and barriers were also explored.

Sixty-three women participated in the online questionnaire. No statistically significant relationships were found between viewership of The Biggest Loser and physical activity readiness to change or self-efficacy. Therefore, both hypotheses were rejected. Approximately 62.5%, 66.6%, and 70% of The Biggest Loser viewers did indicate that the television show increased their motivation, increased their confidence, and helped them overcome barriers, respectively.

Registered dietitians and other healthcare professionals should acknowledge that the media may have the ability to impact perceptions and attitudes but not necessarily behaviors related to physical activity and weight management. The results of this study may also suggest that some individuals found motivation, support, and resources from the show that led them to make their own behavior changes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ozier, Amy
Commitee: Henry, Beverly, Lukaszuk, Judith
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Nutrition, Public health, Mass communications
Keywords: Readiness to engage in physical activity, The Biggest Loser
Publication Number: 1506331
ISBN: 978-1-267-17668-4
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