Report Title

The Effects, Perceptions, and Attitudes of Previously Sedentary Individuals Starting an Exercise Program

Collective Title

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Research Reports 2020


Background: Many Americans do not eat healthfully or exercise, which is associated with higher risk of disease. Nutrition and exercise awareness have increased, but people experience barriers preventing lifestyle change. Limited research has been completed on the impact of nutrition education on dietary intake.

Objective: Examine whether starting an exercise program with or without nutrition education can influence dietary choices in previously sedentary individuals, and to determine their perceptions and attitudes.

Design: Mixed methods study gathering quantitative data through a food frequency questionnaire, InBody test, and demographics/exercise activity survey. Qualitative data was gathered through focus groups. Participants completed six weeks of exercise.

Participants: Male or female between 20 and 50 years who had been previously sedentary for at least 6 months but had started exercising between one week and three months. They had to be able to perform moderate intensity exercise at least two days per week for thirty minutes. Participants were excluded if they were pregnant (self-reported) or injured to prevent exercise. Six participants completed the study, with four participating in focus groups.

Intervention: Group A received nutrition education. Group B did not.

Main outcomes: Food choices, weight, lean body mass, body fat percentage, visceral fat, and perceptions on diet and exercise.

Statistical Analyses Performed: The Linear Mix Model was used for InBody data. Independent t-test was used for food frequency data. Dedoose and Otter were used for qualitative data.

Results: Group A significantly decreased in weight and reported eating significantly less sweets than Group B during the final assessment. Three themes emerged: Professional help, self-efficacy, and the power of habits.

Conclusions: Individuals will encounter ambivalence regardless of what stage of change they are in. Nutrition counseling can guide clients to proceed with change. Not everyone will consider changing dietary habits after starting to exercise regardless of nutrition education.

LLU Discipline

Nutrition and Dietetics


Nutrition and Dietetics


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

JeJe Noval

Second Advisor

Gurinder Bains

Third Advisor

Lida Gharibvand

Fourth Advisor

Edward Bitok

Fifth Advisor

Heather Javaherian-Dysinger

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)





Nutrition counseling; Exercise--Research.


Research Report

Page Count

29 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Research Reports

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. University Libraries.