Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Luther College (Decorah, Iowa)--Students--Health and hygiene; Luther College (Decorah, Iowa); College students--Health and hygiene--Iowa--Decorah; College students--Health and hygiene; Students--Health and hygiene; Iowa--Decorah; Academic theses;


Young adults are not as active as they should be in comparison to national standards. They are more overweight than is healthy. The purpose of this study was to describe the physical activity volume (frequency + intensity) of incoming first-year students at an Iowa liberal arts college. Did certain demographic characteristics, such as gender; projected major area of study; age; native language; religious preference; ethnic background; and past high school and projected college athletic, theater/drama, and music participation of these students make a difference in their volume of physical activity? This study focused on the examination of exercise behaviors of the 2003 incoming first-year students at Luther College. In particular, the study investigated these students and their exercise behaviors in terms of their specific demographic characteristics.

Of the 667 incoming first-year students at Luther College in Decorah, IA in the fall of 2003, 532 took the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and 528 took the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) questionnaire. The participants who actually gave useful data to be tabulated and analyzed totaled between 194 and 199, depending on the statistic being examined. T-test and ANOVA analyses were used to determine if any statistically significant differences existed between independent and dependent variables.

The demographic factors such as gender, religious preference, etc. did not show as many significant differences in physical activity behaviors as did the activity-related factors. The findings of the study indicated that gender, high school athletic participation, projected college athletic participation, high school theater/drama participation, projected college theater/drama participation, and projected college band/choir/orchestra participation were categories in which participants had statistically significant differences in their volume of physical activity.

Recommendations included utilizing higher education institutions' top-level administration and wellness departments to initiate strategies to increase student physical activity. Colleges and researchers must assess, evaluate, and examine current theory on student physical activity behaviors. Colleges also must be willing to invest time, money, and human resources to analyze and improve their current physical activity curriculum and programming models.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Dennis Cryer

Second Advisor

Tom Davis

Third Advisor

Kevin Finn


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Date Original


Object Description

ix, 153 leaves ; 28 cm



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