The Question of Participation
An Investigation on Interventions to Increase Physical Activity Among University Students
Background. Recent studies indicate that physical activity levels among Ontario university students are about 35% to 42%. Furthermore, there is a sparsity of evidence on effective interventions to support increased physical activity among university students. The current study uses the Comprehensive School Health (CSH) framework for the analysis of current physical activity interventions at York University and provides four observations of an effective program.
Methods. 249 York University undergraduate students (n = 153 women, n = 96 men) ages 18 – 42 (M = 19.92 years, SD = 2.99 for men; M = 19.96 years, SD = 2.61 for women) were recruited from the school of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Participants were measured for their physical activity status and physical activity factors pertaining to the CSH framework via an online survey.
Results. 67.9% of the participants were considered physically active, and 80.3% declared they would not “travel to the university only to engage in physical activity”. Additionally, 74.7% of the participants reported that they believed that they had enough information regarding physical activity, with 44.2% having been exposed to signs and posters about physical activity on campus. 49.4% of participants reported engaging in the school’s mandatory practicums (PKINs) with a resulting 125 minutes of average weekly physical activity. 16.9% of participants reported having received physical activity counseling and 83.1% did not.
Conclusions. Based on the results of this study, an effective intervention to support increased physical activity among university students, in the case of York University, was one that fit well with the students’ academic schedule, did not rely on signs or posters for physical activity promotion, integrated itself into the curriculum, and would benefit from incorporating partnerships with healthcare professionals.
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