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Article Title

ARE NATIVE AMERICAN/ALASKA NATIVE/HAWAIIAN NATIVE STUDENTS GETTING ENOUGH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?

Abstract

Jerry C. Bread Jr., Jacilyn Olson, & Melissa Powers, The University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma; e-mail: jbreadjr@uco.edu

Low levels of physical activity have been linked to an elevated risk of developing diseases related to sedentary lifestyles. For groups of Indigenous people in the United States, standard levels of recommended exercise are not always achieved. Inactivity and increased rates of type II diabetes continue to contribute to health problems among Indigenous populations in the United States. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine if Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Native students at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) were acquiring the recommended amount of weekly exercise based on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. METHODS: Data from the Spring 2014 American College Health Assessment II was analyzed in a cross tabulation model to examine the relationship between Native American (NA), Alaska Native (AN), Hawaiian Native (HN) students at UCO and their self-reported exercise habits. A sample size of 76 UCO students that identified their race as Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Native were used as subjects of study. Percentage figures were utilized to report the amount of physical activity reported by students that identified their race as Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Native. RESULTS: The cross tabulation model revealed that 70.3% of all NA/AN/HN students were not meeting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, while only 29.8% were meeting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Among non-HA/AN/HN students, 78.9% were not meeting the moderate intensity aerobic exercise guidelines, while 21.2% did meet the guidelines. CONCLUSION: The findings in this research revealed that a majority of Native American, Alaska Native, or Hawaiian Native UCO students do not meet the recommended amount of exercise. While these rates are actually lower than average for other students, it still warrants further examination and targeted programming. The results of this study may be used as a catalyst to generate physical activity programs for these specific subpopulations of students who possess an elevated risk of developing diseases related to sedentary lifestyles and obesity, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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