Physical activity levels and suggestions for its promotion among university students
Keywords:IPAQ, physical activity, university, students
Introduction: Physical activity not only has positive effects on health, but is also linked to various aspects of life. Physical activity is considered one of the main components that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and general improvement in health including physical strength, muscle endurance and flexibility. A variety of evidences show that regular physical activity is beneficial to health and strong scientific research exists that reported decreased mortality rate with an optimal level of physical activity. This study was designed to evaluate the physical activity status of university students and their suggestions to promote physical activity.
Material & Methods: From January to October 2019, a cross-sectional study was conducted among 2,916 university students, studying at different universities in Faisalabad. The aim was to measure the levels of physical activity according to the pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Participants were enrolled in the study using convenient sampling. The questionnaire used in this study consisted of three sections, with the first part recording the demographics of the participants, the second part an International Physical Activity Questionnaire and the third part containing several suggestions for promoting physical activity. Logistic regression analysis was used for factors influencing physical activity behaviour. Confidence interval (CI=95%) and odds ratio (OR) were calculated and P-value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The findings of our study revealed that 2469 (84.6%) of the students out of 2916 were physically active. Of 2916, 1541 (52.8%) participants were moderately active, while 928 (31.8%) participants were highly active. Overall 92.20% male were physically active compared to females 81.70%. Moreover, our study found that the most preferred suggestion for the promotion of physical activity proposed by the students (n=1011, 34.7%) was a provision of physical and social environments that encourage and allow safe and pleasurable physical activity. The least preferred suggestion by the students (n=735, 25.2%) was the addition of at least thirty minutes of exercise as part of the curriculum.
Conclusion: This study found that the physical activity profile of most students was between moderate and high. The top-ranked suggestion for the promotion of physical activity among the students was a provision of physical and social environments that encourage and allow safe and pleasurable physical activity.