|COLLEGE STUDENTS WALK LESS THAN YOUNGER CHILDREN
New study shows college-aged individuals take fewer steps than younger children, and fall below recommendations for daily steps
INDIANAPOLIS – College students’ daily steps do not meet recommended levels of physical activity and they walk less than younger children, according to research presented today at the 51st American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. This information illustrates the activity decline seen in young people as they age, and may help explain why students gain weight during their college years.
When compared with younger children (ages 6-12) who average 11,000-13,000 steps per day, college students who used a pedometer to count their daily steps and assess walking habits took an average of 7,700 steps per day. Their steps also fell below the recommended threshold 10,000 steps per day held by researchers as the standard.
Seventy-nine college students volunteered to count and assess their steps with the use of a pedometer for one week. Each student also completed a physical activity questionnaire to estimate their baseline daily steps and report on other personal activity factors. For the same seven-day interval, researchers measured the number of days and minutes per day students participated in vigorous and moderate physical activity, walking activity and time spent sitting.
The men in the study reported more physical activity than actually recorded during measurements of their steps-per-day. However, the number of days spent walking among men was higher than they estimated. These factors were not relevant in the female population. Overall, both groups’ daily step counts fell below other ages, including children and adolescents. Researchers say these results indicate college students tend to overestimate their walking patterns, and students may be able to increase their physical activity by using a device to measure their steps.
"Despite the walking students traditionally do on or around campus or between classes, it’s still not enough to meet the threshold for health benefits,” said Becky L. Wilber, M.S., lead author of the study. “If college students are going to avoid that legendary weight gain known as the Freshmen 15, keep weight off, or maintain health, they’re going to have increase their physical activity while on campus or during their leisure time.”
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. In 2004, ACSM celebrates 50 years of leadership and scientific contribution. The College was founded in 1954 by a small but dedicated group of 11 professionals interested in the study of physical activity and sports. Today, more than 20,000 International, National, and Regional members carry on the Founders’ goals of advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.