Evaluating Health Related Physical Activity Amongst Physical Therapy Students, an International Perspective

Purpose/Hypothesis : Obesity is a rising factor in the United States, affecting approximately 1/3 of all adults. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least thirty to sixty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Since physical therapists play an important role in encouraging patients to remain active, it is important for them to abide by these recommendations to promote health in their lives and in the lives of those in the community. The purpose of this study was to compare the level of physical activity among physical therapy students in the United States and Sweden. This study also evaluated the difference in activity levels among gender and graduating classes.Number of Subjects : 345 students, 157 from the University of the Sciences in United States (58 males, 99 females) and 188 from University of Gothenburg in Sweden (51 males, 137 females) were included in this study.Materials/Methods : Each student was given the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) to complete based on his or her level of physical activity during the past seven days. Age, gender, and year at the university were also collected for each participant.Results : The mean (SD) age of the Swedish students was 24 (4.6) and USA 23 (1.8) with no significant difference in distribution of gender or age across countries. Eleven of the 345 students (3%) were classified as having low overall activity level, 51 students (14%) as moderate, and 296 students (82%) as high with no significant differences between the countries. There was no significant difference between groups for categories or overall MET level. Male participants, in the US and Sweden, demonstrated higher values in METS of walking (p<0.05) compared to females across the two nations. There were significant differences (p<0.05) between nations in total MET work and also between genders in Sweden. Females, in both nations, demonstrated higher values of Active Transportation (p=0 .04) compared to males. Individuals in their first professional year at University of the Sciences reported significantly less moderate activities and housework chores compared to individuals in their second and third professional year.Conclusions : Physical therapy students are more physically active than the general population. There were no differences between countries in overall MET level, but there were significant differences in subcategories. Differences among nations may be contributed to cultural differences. First year professional students at the University of the Sciences reported less activity compared to older professional students. Future studies are needed to determine whether these results can be generalized to all physical therapy students in the different countries.Clinical Relevance : Physical activity is an important component among the field of Physical Therapy. Students in the Physical Therapy profession should be representative of physical activity, reflecting these recommendations, and encouraging others to follow them as well.

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  • Control #: 1724864
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Rachel Buriani, Marissa Handwerk, Jennifer Nicklasson, Johanna Zetterlund, Mari Lundberg, Karin G. Silbernagel
  • Keywords: Physical Activity|Physical Therapy Students|Energy Expenditure

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