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Abstract

It is well established that Americans are not meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines and college students are no exception. Given the lack of regular PA, many health promotion professionals seek to discover what barriers to PA may exist. A common explanation is screen time (ST), which is comprised primarily of television viewing, computer use, and the playing of video games. The purpose of this study was to present descriptive data on college students’ PA and sedentary behavior and to assess if any evidence exists to suggest displacement between sedentary behaviors and PA in college students. Students completed an online health survey specific to time spent in PA and sedentary behavior. Students were categorized into one of three PA groups based on their activity level. Males were significantly more physically active than females in terms of days per week engaged in aerobic exercise (p=.022) and strength training (p<.001). When categorized by activity level, a greater percentage of male students met recommended PA levels than did females (p<.001). Males reported significantly higher levels of overall ST (p=.004) and television viewing (p<.001), whereas females reported significantly higher levels of time spent engaged in homework (p<.001). When categorized by activity level, physically active students reported significantly fewer minutes of total ST than inactive students (p=.047). Implications of this study suggest that within a college population, television and PA are not competing behaviors in either gender.