Previous studies have assessed physical activity in college students, but few investigators have examined the relationship between academic behaviors/performance and physical activity participation.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess the association between study time, grade point average (GPA) and meeting current recommendations for vigorous and moderate physical activity in college students.
METHODS: 141 undergraduate students completed an online survey at the beginning of the Fall 2007 semester. Physical activity was defined as vigorous (≥20 minutes of activity that made you sweat and breath hard on ≥3 days per week) or moderate (≥30 minutes of activity that did not make you sweat and breathe hard on ≥5 days per week). Academic behavior was assessed as the amount of time spent studying per day (study time: ≤1 hour, 2 hours, ≥3 hours). Academic performance was assessed as cumulative GPA (GPA: no GPA, <3.0, 3.0-3.5, ≥3.5). Adjusted odds ratios and 95% CIs were calculated to assess the relationship between study time/GPA and vigorous/moderate physical activity while controlling for gender, race, class standing, major, and varsity sport participation.
RESULTS: Results suggest that when compared to students who studied ≤1 hour per day, those who studied ≥3 hours per day were an estimated 3.5 (95%CI: 1.1-11.2) times more likely to participate in vigorous physical activity and 2.6 (0.9-7.5) times more likely to participate in moderate physical activity. When compared to students with a GPA <3.0, those with a GPA ≥3.5 were an estimated 3.2 (0.9-11.8) times more likely to participate in vigorous physical activity.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a potential association between academic behaviors/performance and physical activity in college students. Specifically, students who spend more time studying or have a higher GPA are more likely to participate in physical activity. However, due to limited research, additional information is needed to explore this relationship in more detail.