2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Background: The prevalence of obesity in America and other developed countries has increased significantly in recent years as a result of many factors. While excessive consumption of calories, fat, and simple sugars contribute immensely to the obesity epidemic, lack of physical activity is also a major contributor. Research has found that weight gain in college is, at least in part, caused by insufficient exercise.
Objective: The objective of this research study was to evaluate levels of physical activity in college students and determine how participation in group classes affects overall activity.
Subjects: Participants in the study included 201 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The average age of the participants was 20.0 +/- 1.4 years and the average BMI was 23.0 +/- 4.4 kg/m .
Methods: The students completed surveys inquiring about how often they exercised in an average week, whether they exercised alone or with others, and reasons for exercising.
Results: 18% of participants reported that they only exercise alone while 16% only exercised with others. The majority of the participants, 65%, said they sometimes exercise with others and sometimes exercise alone. When the college students were asked why they exercise most said to improve overall health, followed by weight loss or control. The most common reason why college students reported exercising with others was because it motivated them to exercise.
Conclusion: This research has important implications because, as of right now, the majority of college students do not engage in regular physical activity. The results of this research indicate that physical activity opportunities on college campuses need to vary, with both individual and group options available.