UBC Undergraduate Research

Move More, Learn More Tailored to First-year Students’ Undergraduate Programs UBC Sidiropoulos, Nikolette; Pan, Josephine; Norberg, Montana; Pedersen-Arseneau, Pascale; Wilkie, Amy


The objective of this research project proposed by SEED and UBC Recreation is meant to gather information on first-year students’ physical activity (PA) to explore what a Move More, Learn More (MMLM) program would look like for first-year students. Those who are physically literate are more likely to engage in daily PA, which is thought to be the foundation of lifelong PA participation (Kwan et al., 2019). Providing physical literacy (PL) based programs may be an effective intervention to encourage first-year university students to engage in PA. The literature reveals that this group could significantly benefit from a PL program as first-year university students are a demographic that often demonstrates a notable decrease in PA (Sukys et al., 2019). This project explores PA differences among first and second-year students across different faculties, intending to identify factors preventing PA engagement and how they may differ between faculties. A survey that consisted of quantitative and open-ended questions targeted first and second-year students at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The survey was made available to these students through online social media platforms and online recruitment posters. The survey questions asked students to reflect on their first semester at UBC and their behaviours surrounding PA. The questions were designed to better understand the participant’s academic life and the potential motivators and barriers to engaging in PA during the first semester in university. Research by Sukys et al. (2019) suggests that students studying health-education courses have higher PA engagement, yet a primary theme that emerged in response to these questions was that there were no notable differences in PA levels between Kinesiology students and those in other faculties. However, due to uneven distribution and a limited amount of survey responses, a between individual faculty comparison of PA levels was not possible. Additionally, there seemed to be little correlation between academic workload and ability to engage in PA. The primary motivators to engaging in PA that emerged were health, friends and fitness. The most-reported barriers were time, schoolwork and lack of motivation. These themes helped highlight potential areas of focus for an MMLM program catered to first-year students. The lack of correlation between workload and PA implies that the barrier of time is likely a perceived barrier rather than an actual barrier. This suggests that a future MMLM program should focus on teaching students time management skills and helping them learn to prioritize PA. One recommendation is that MMLM should capitalize on friends as motivators by implementing activities that encourage participants to bring or meet a friend. In turn, this could help create an environment where students feel more comfortable and confident to engage in PA. Very few of the participants had heard of the MMLM program suggesting the need for greater promotion and advertisement of this program in the future. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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