Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

An Application of an Ecological Model to Understanding Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors among College Students. (Health)

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

An Application of an Ecological Model to Understanding Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors among College Students. (Health)

Article excerpt

Physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors are critical in the reduction of risk of chronic disease. Despite knowledge about the benefits of physical activity and nutrition, behaviors have not reflected current understanding. Developing healthy habits among college students is important because these students are likely to become tomorrow's leaders and will likely influence environmental and institutional factors that impact behavior. Historically, health-related research has emphasized individual-level factors that contribute to behavior but is shifting to encompass ecological-level influences. The purposes of this study were to (a) determine physical activity and nutrition behaviors engaged in by a cohort of college students, (b) identify environmental factors and institutional policies that impact behavior, and (c) make recommendations as to how these environmental factors and policies can be altered to support healthy lifestyles. A random sample of 1,700 students at a major university in the southeas tern U.S. was surveyed. A total of 531 students participated (47% response rate). The instrument, an adaptation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS), requested information on a variety of health-related behaviors. Analysis of environmental factors addressed the physical design of campus, availability of facilities, and convenience to shopping. …

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