Predictors of Physical Activity on a College Campus with a High Proportion of Non-traditional Students
Background and purpose: Given the problem of obesity, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles among college students in the US, this study presents demographic, psychosocial, personal and environmental predictors of physical activity (PA) on an individual college campus with a high percentage of non-traditional students. Methods: The National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey was completed by college students at a large Northwestern university [N = 949; Male = 292 (31.1%); female = 647 (68.9%); mean age = 26.5 (SD = 9.0) years] during Fall 2011. Results: Sixty-eight percent of participants did not meet both moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and strength exercise (SE) recommendations. Good perceived health status and on-campus housing status were associated with a higher probability of meeting the MVPA and SE recommendations (p <.05), with the former also predictive of SE. High Interest in PA, high PA knowledge, low stress, male gender and young age explained additional variance in meeting the SE recommendation (p <.05). Conclusion: Most students did not participate in the recommended level of MVPA and SE. On this campus, efforts directed to increasing PA knowledge might facilitate an increase in SE. Efforts to promote exercise as a stress reliever may also increase SE participation.