Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
FONTES, Ana Cláudia Dias and VIANNA, Rodrigo Pinheiro Toledo. Prevalence and factors related to low level physical activity among university students in a public university in the northeast region of Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2009, vol.12, n.1, pp.20-29. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2009000100003.
Low levels of physical activity are related to an increase in chronic diseases and a decrease in the population's quality of life. This study aimed to estimate insufficient physical activity among undergraduate students of Universidade Federal da Paraíba (Federal University of Paraíba), and to find factors associated with such condition. A center-stratified cross-sectional sampling study was carried out, using a proportionate share as a function of the year they started the program, type of program chosen, and time of the day they attended classes. Data were collected along the first semester of 2007 and 1,503 students were enrolled in the study. Issues concerning personal data, socioeconomic condition, lifestyle and health, nutritional assessment, and physical activity were investigated. The long version IPAQ was used to measure the level of physical activity. The prevalence observed for low level physical activity was 31.2%. Students who entered university much earlier, those who attended classes in the evening, and students who spent less time at the university showed the highest prevalence of low level physical activity. Also, family income and social class were associated with a high prevalence of low level physical activity. Taking into account the risks to health resulting from insufficient physical activity and the significance of the college years as a transition from adolescence to adulthood, physical activities at the university should be encouraged as a preventive measure against non-transmissible chronic diseases and to improve quality of life along adult and senior life.
Keywords : Physical activity; Epidemiology; Youth health.