240214 Association between perceived university environment and physical activity in college students

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stephanie Goodwin, PhD, RD , Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Kathryn W. Hosig, PhD, MPH, RD , Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, VA
Elena Serrano, PhD , Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Kerry Redican, MPH, PhD CHES , Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Aaron Schroeder, PhD , Institute for Policy and Governance, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Wen You, PhD , Agric. and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Eileen S. Anderson, EdD , Williams Hall, CRHB, Department of Psychology, Blacksburg, VA
Introduction: College students do not appear to be meeting the current physical activity recommendations, potentially contributing to unhealthy weight gain in college and establishing poor health habits that will carry into adulthood. The purpose of this study is to identify potential associations between the perceived university environment and student physical activity. Methods: All students enrolled in a general education science course at a large mid-Atlantic university were invited to participate in an on-line survey and earn extra credit (N=94). Sixty-four students completed the survey. Associations between responses to questions adapted from the South Carolina Environmental Supports for Physical Activity survey and physical activity questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the Godin Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire (GLT) were analyzed using Pearson's correlation (p < 0.05. Results: Using recreational/physical activity clubs or programs was positively correlated with GLT score (r = 0.143; p = 0.001) and vigorous physical activity (r = 0.276; p = 0.031). Better perceived street lighting (r = 0.424; p = 0.001) and using membership only recreation facilities (r = 0.281; p = 0.037) were positively associated with vigorous physical activity. Using nearby waterways for physical activity was positively associated with moderate physical activity (r = 0.273; p = 0.035). Conclusion: Universities can build a supportive environment that promotes positive physical activity habits during the transition to young adulthood. More research is needed to determine specific environmental factors that most influence physical activity habits in university students.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the potential influence of the perceived university environment on physical activity habits in college students. 2) Identify university characteristics that may be associated with moderate and vigorous physical activity in college students. 3) Identify university characteristics that may be associated with overall physical activity in college students.

Keywords: College Students, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am conducting my doctoral research in this subject area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.