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Physical activity (PA) is associated with a number of health benefits. Most college students do not meet recommended amounts of PA. Many higher education institutions are serving a geographically diverse student body with many students only taking courses through online learning management systems. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether course modality (on-campus vs online) was related to PA levels among students. METHODS: An online questionnaire was administered to all students at a regional university in eastern Oregon to asses PA levels of on-campus and online students and access to facilities during the 2013-2014 academic year. The questionnaire was developed through the use of a validated self-report PA instrument (IPAQ). The questionnaire was administered once during the year via e-mail with an embedded link to a web-based survey generator. IPAQ scoring was used to categorize PA. Responses were downloaded into a spreadsheet and analyzed using Microsoft Excel. Descriptive statistics were calculated for variables of interest. RESULTS: 238 participants completed the questionnaire. Of these 162 were online students while the remaining 76 attended courses on-campus. Only 35.2% of online students reported meeting current PA recommendations (150min*wk of moderate to vigorous MVPA), compared to only 56.6% of the on-campus students. Results were categorized as Low, Moderate or High levels of PA. 25.9%, 37% and 37% of online students classified as Low, Moderate and High categories respectively, compared to 9.2%, 27.6% and 63.2% of students taking classes on campus. CONCLUSION: On-campus student’s self-reported higher activity levels when compared to online counterparts. Specific interventions to target PA for online students should be considered due to the large PA disparity between these two populations. A follow-up survey regarding the possible factors influencing this disparity is needed in order to shed some light on this topic.

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