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Predictors of exercise frequency in a predominantly Hispanic college population

Dejan Magoc, MS and Joe Tomaka, PhD. College of Health Sciences, UT El Paso, 1101 N. Campbell St., El Paso, TX 79902, 915-274-2715, dejanm14@hotmail.com

Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death and conveys risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Overweight and obesity are common among college students with surveys showing 35% of college students to be overweight (NCHRBS, 1995). Unhealthy diets and low physical activity are the major causes.

We examined relationships between exercise frequency and demographic and behavioral variables including age, alcohol consumption, weight, BMI, exercise outcome expectancies, smoking status, and perceived stress. Participants included 393 students at a predominantly Hispanic (72%) college. All completed questionnaires as part of a health screening.

Participants ranged from 18-56 years (mean = 22). Surprisingly, 44% of the sample was overweight (BMI > 24.99) and 13% were obese (BMI > 29.99). Physical activity was common as 61% indicated exercising 3/week or more. Correlational analyses indicated that Age (-.11), Exercise Expectancy (.52), Smoking Status (-.16), and Stress (-.13) all correlated with exercise frequency (p. < .05). Exercise was more frequent among younger individuals, those assigning importance to exercise, did not smoke, and were less stressed. Regression analyses showed that Exercise Expectancy (b=.52, p < .05) and Age (b=.11, p, .05) remained independent predictors of exercise frequency (R-Square = .28, F(2, 372) = 72.01, p < .001).

The results show exercise expectancies to be an important predictor of exercise among Hispanic college students. They also suggest that dietary modifications may be required for this population. Future studies might explore these relationships among other ethnic/demographic groups, as well as test the effectiveness of interventions for weight reductions.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Exercise, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Issues Pertaining to College Health

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA