Physical Activity and its Determinants among First-year Students of Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
Physical activity is a fundamental means of improving physical and mental health. Although academic youth can be described as a relatively healthy population group of society, both in Lithuania and other countries research data suggests that many students do not meet the physical activity recommendations of the World Health Organization. Knowing how important an adequate physical activity is in the life of students it is necessary to identify maintaining factors and barriers which condition this activity.
The object of research is physical activity and factors influencing it.
The aim is to establish physical activity and its determinants among students of Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.
The survey was conducted in 2013–2014. The study population consisted of first-year full-time students from the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences from 20 teachers’ training study programs. The sample size was 432 persons (32.6% males and 67.4% females) aged 18–23 (mean age 19.35 ± 1.02). An anonymous paper-and-pencil questionnaire was used to collect data on university students’ socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported health status, and maintaining factors or perceived barriers to physical activity participation. The physical activity levels were measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – IPAQ. Statistical analysis of the data was performed using SPSS software package, version 16.0. To assess contingency tables, Chi-square test was used. Differences were considered to be statistically significant at p < 0.05.
According to the results of the presented study 16.2% of the students had low, 29.9% – moderate, and 53.9% – high level of physical activity. Significantly higher physical activity was observed among males (69.5%) than females (46.4%). The results showed that most commonly reported factors positively impacting on participation in physical activity are perceived health benefits (70.5%) and the aspiration to maintain good physical shape (58,3%). The results of the research also confirmed that barriers to physical activity are a lack of time (44.7%), lack of will, stubbornness, and laziness (29.6%).
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