Changes in Season Affect Body Weight, Physical Activity, Food Intake, and Sleep in Female College Students: A Preliminary Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 24;17(23):8713. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17238713.


The current study examined how body weight and lifestyle fluctuate between spring, autumn, and winter in Japanese female college students and whether weight gain is associated with changes in physical activity, food intake, and sleep. We measured body weight and lifestyle factors in 31 participants from May 2017 to January 2018. Weight was measured daily in participants' homes. Physical activity and sleep were measured for three weeks in three seasons using two accelerometers. Food intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Body weight significantly decreased in autumn compared with spring (p < 0.001). Body weight in winter tended to increase compared with autumn (p = 0.052). Step counts and energy intake were significantly different between seasons (p < 0.05). Total time in bed was not significantly different between seasons. In comparisons of changes in lifestyle patterns from autumn to winter between the weight gain (≥0.5 kg) and weight maintenance groups, seasonal changes in lifestyle factors were not significantly different between groups (p > 0.05). The results indicated that body weight and lifestyle were affected by seasonal variability in female college students, but no significant relationships existed between seasonal weight gain and changes in lifestyle patterns.

Keywords: college students; physical activity; seasonal variability; weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight* / physiology
  • Eating* / physiology
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Seasons*
  • Sleep* / physiology
  • Students* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult