Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


College students--Health and hygiene--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Physical education for college students--Iowa--Cedar Falls; College students--Health and hygiene; Physical education for college students; Iowa--Cedar Falls; Academic theses;


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the knowledge of physical activity guidelines, the perceived importance of physical activity, and the actual physical activity behaviors among college students. Comparisons according to gender, class standing, academic major, and completion of a required personal wellness course were also made. In addition, a secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between knowledge of physical activity guidelines, perceived importance of physical activity, and actual physical activity behavior. A questionnaire developed by Morrow, Jackson, Bazzarre, Milne, and Blair (1999) was used to determine if participants knew the appropriate frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity to achieve health benefits. The short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IP AQ) was used to determine the physical activity behaviors of the participants (Ainsworth, et al., 2003). Perceived importance of physical activity was determined on the basis of questions derived from the modified Eccles expectancy-value model (Eccles & Harold, 1991). All participants were enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa during the Fall semester of the 2006-2007 school year. Data was collected on 246 male (n = 72) and female (n = 174) participants. Participants represented each class rank: freshman (n = 24), sophomore (n = 128), junior (n = 38), senior (n = 34), and graduate (n = 22). Respondents included students from five different academic colleges, the College of Business Administration (n = 37), College of Education (n = 52), College of Humanities and Fine Arts (n = 42), College of Natural Sciences (n = 46), and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (n = 53 ), plus general studies students that were not affiliated with a specific college (n = 16). There were slightly more participants (n = 132) who had not taken the required personal wellness course, as compared to students who were either currently enrolled in the required personal wellness course or had previously completed the course (n = 114). Results of this study suggest that college level participants in this study have an average understanding of the recommended physical activity guidelines, furthermore, a majority perceive physical activity, the ability to participate in physical activity and physical fitness to be important. Yet, a majority did not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. Female participants showed a greater understanding of physical activity knowledge then male participants, however, male participants reported more vigorous intensity physical activity than females. Completion of a personal wellness course did not prove to be significant in total physical activity knowledge, overall perceived importance, or physical activity behaviors. Grade classification showed that freshman students participated in more moderate intensity physical activity then junior students. Participants from the College of Education averaged more walking minutes and total walking MET-minutes per week then participants from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Furthermore, participants from the College of Education average more total MET-minutes/week then participants from the College of Humanities and Fine arts. Perceived importance of physical activity, not specific physical activity knowledge, was significantly related to overall physical activity.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Larry Hensley

Second Advisor

Windee Weiss

Third Advisor

Kevin Finn


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Date Original


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