Living the Physically Active Lifestyle: A Profile of College Students Enrolled in Elective Physical Activity Courses

Article excerpt

Regular participation in physical activity is widely accepted as a primary objective for preventing a broad array of acute and chronic health problems (USDHHS, 1991; 2000). Unfortunately, levels of participation in physical activity decline for most individuals, following high school (Calfas, Sallis, Lovato, & Campbell, 1994; Cullen et al., 1999). Over the past several years, interest has grown in understanding college students who have made a choice to enroll in elective physical education classes (Chen, 2000; Hildebrand & Johnson, 2001; Keating, Guan, Pinero, & Bridges, 2005; Nicole, Leenders, Sherman, & Ward, 2003). These students are, arguably, living a physically active lifestyle--a popular goal for many high school physical education programs and most public health advocates (e.g., the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the Surgeon General, etc.). The purpose of this study was to add to the knowledge base by establishing a profile of college students enrolled in elective physical activity courses. Insights to this group may facilitate efforts to engage the wider adult population. Participants (N = 401) were enrolled in elective college physical activity courses at a large comprehensive university in the southeastern United States and completed paper and pencil surveys during one class session. …