Document Type


Publication Date



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences


Within lifestyle behavior research, the sex of populations causes differences in behaviors and outcomes of studies. This cross-sectional study investigated lifestyle behavior patterns in college students, examining sex differences in four areas: Nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and stress. Data from over 1100 college freshmen across 8 United States universities were used for this cross-sectional analysis. Self-reported data assessed fruit and vegetable intake, fat percent intake, physical activity, perceived stress, and sleep quality. Statistical analysis included Pearson chi-squared and Mann–Whitney’s U tests for scores by sex. Likewise, healthy cut-offs were used to determine frequency of participants within range of the five tools. Males reported higher intake of both fruits and vegetables, and percent energy from fat than females. Males also reported higher physical activity levels, lower stress levels, and poorer sleep quality than females. Of the five self-reported tools, males were found to have a larger frequency of participants with healthy ranges than females. In a large college freshmen sample, sex was found to be related to general lifestyle behaviors which strengthen results reported in the previous literature. These findings shed light on the need for lifestyle behavior interventions among at-risk college students to enhance their behaviors to healthy levels.

Source Citation

Olfert M, Barr M, Charlier C, Greene G, Zhou W, Colby S. Sex Differences in Lifestyle Behaviors among U.S. College Freshmen. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019;16(3):482. doi:10.3390/ijerph16030482


This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.