College Physical Activity is Related to Mid-Life Activity Levels in Women

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It has been suggested, but not clearly established, that physical activity (PA) during the college years is a determinant of long-term PA patterns. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between PA during the college years and current PA in college-educated women. Fifty-five college-educated women, aged 39.3 ± 6.5 y, were recruited for this study and were, on average, 14.9 ± 7.4 y post-college. Participant's history of PA during college years and the present time was determined from the Lifetime Physical Activity Questionnaire. A brief demographic questionnaire that addressed current PA patterns was also administered. Results showed a significant correlation between leisure activity (LA) during college years and current LA (r = 0.424, p = 0.001). There was no difference between median college LA and current LA (22.4 and 27.9 MET hours per week, respectively, p = 0.129). However, total college PA reported was significantly lower than total current PA (34.7 and 70.7 MET hours per week, respectively, p = 0.001), with this difference due to an increase in household activities during mid-life. Marital status, the presence of children under the age of 18 in the home, and employment status had no significant impact on LA for this sample. These data suggest that leisure-time PA patterns practiced during college years may carry over to mid- life.

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