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Nicole A. Doyle, ByeongKwon Lim, Michelle M. Miller, Shea N. McMullin, Brian L. Myers, Jacilyn A. Olson, PhD., Melissa D. Powers, PhD.; University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma

The benefits of physical activity for health and weight management are widely known, but many people often try to lose or gain weight without changing their levels of activity. The American College Health Association’s (ACHA) National College Health Assessment (NCHA) data were utilized to review certain physical activity patterns of college students. PURPOSE: This project sought to examine patterns of physical activity and weight status among college students. METHODS: Data were collected from the ACHA-NCHA survey distributed in the spring of 2012. 722 participants were surveyed over various topics such physical activity and weight status. The data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, also using the frequencies and percentages tab while splitting the file by gender. Categories of the weight status variable are: lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight and do nothing. RESULTS: The results showed that an overwhelming percentage of male and female college students do not meet physical activity guidelines. Among women trying to maintain their weight, 59% do not meet the guidelines, and for those wanting to lose weight, only 43% meet the guidelines. Forty-seven percent of males that are trying to maintain their weight do not meet the guidelines, whereas only 56% of those wanting to lose weight, report meeting the activity guidelines. CONCLUSION: The findings of this research study showed an overwhelming amount of students that report wanting to lose weight but they are not meeting the guidelines. The number of women who meet the guidelines is even lower than men. Recommendations for health educators might include educating students on the total package of wellness. Implementing fitness groups on campus with positive reinforcement and accountability could help students take ownership of their health. Goal-setting with peer groups, and incentives, such as free parking passes for the furthest parking lots, might spark student’s interest. Future studies should look at the society as a whole, including the workplace, costs involved, and regional weight status demographics.

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