Physical Activity Patterns of Residential University Students

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Wenhao Liu1, Stan Ajongbah2, Traci D. Zillifro1 and Michelle Ruiz1, (1)Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, (2)University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Purpose: Impact of built environment on physical activity (PA) patterns has recently drawn considerable attention (Sallis & Kerr, 2006). But reports are not yet available regarding how a residential university may impact its students' PA patterns. This study was intended to examine PA patterns of university students in a residential university with a relatively large campus and good recreation facilities.

Methods: One hundred and nineteen students (62 males and 57 females) from a residential university, which occupied approximately 700 acres and provided excellent PA facilities, joined the study. The participants wore a NL-2000 activity monitor recording steps and PA calories for one week, and recorded their daily PA minutes in a log for the same week. The paired samples t tests were used to examine differences between weekday average daily steps and calories and those at weekend. Data derived from the log were used to supplement the activity monitor data.

Analysis/Results: Mean values of weekly steps and calories were 75,695.4 (SD = 27,675.5) and 3,364.8 (SD = 1,614.9), respectively. Mean values of daily steps on weekdays vs. weekend were 11,453.2 (SD = 4,174.1) vs. 9,214.8 (SD = 5,109.9), and the former was significantly higher than the latter (t = 5.34, p < .001). Mean values of daily calories on weekdays vs. weekend were 509.6 (SD = 240.7) vs. 408.5 (SD = 279.3), and the former was again significantly higher than the latter (t = 4.88, p < .001). Results from the activity log showed a larger portion of daily PA (minutes) on weekday than weekend in leisure time PA (57.27% vs. 42.73%) and transportation walking (74.99% vs. 25.01%), and a smaller portion of daily minutes on weekday than weekend in chores (32.79% vs. 67.21%) and in work-related PA (27.91% vs. 72.09%). On average, the participants stayed 4.9 nights on campus out of the 7 days during which the data were collected.

Conclusions: Residential university students meet recommended PA level in terms of weekly steps (70,000) and PA related calories (2,000-3,500), and are more active on weekday than weekend. They participate in more leisure time PA and transportation walking on weekday than weekend. Their physical activities at weekend are mainly chores and work-related PA. The residential university with a relatively large campus and good PA facilities may be an environment facilitating students' PA participation.