Correlates of Achieving the Guidelines of Four Forms of Physical Activity, and the Relationship between Guidelines Achievement and Academic Performance: Undergraduate Students in Finland.

Walid El Ansari, Sakari Suominen, Steve Draper

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

3 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES We surveyed and compared, by gender, the levels and correlates of achieving the international guidelines of four forms of physical activity (PA): moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA), moderate or vigorous PA (MVPA), and muscle strengthening PA (MSPA). The study assessed the associations between achieving the guidelines of the four PA forms and a range of socio-demographic, health and academic performance variables. METHODS Data was collected across the seven faculties of the University of Turku (2013-2014 from a representative sample of 1,189 undergraduates). An English language online self-administered questionnaire assessed frequency and duration of PA/week for each form of PA. We employed cut-offs for the guidelines in accordance with the American Heart Association. Chi-square statistic tested the differences in PA, socio-demographic variables and academic performance between males and females. Binary logistic regression examined the factors associated with achieving the four PA guidelines and linear regression examined the association between the frequency of PA and academic performance. RESULTS Achievement of PA guidelines was relatively low across the sample. Female students were less likely to achieve the VPA or MSPA guidelines, but were more health conscious and in generally exhibited better academic performace than males. High health awareness and excellent/very good self-rated health were the strongest predictors of achieving all forms of PA. Parents' education level was positively related to likelihood of achieving the VPA, MVPA and MSPA guidelines. Achieving the MPA guidelines (but not VPA or MSPA) was positively associated with subjective perceptions of better academic performance. CONCLUSIONS Achievement of PA guidelines was generally low for this sample of Finnish students, and was associated with positive health status and high health awareness. Universities need a holistic approach to improve awareness of health and promote PA in students' lifestyles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017



  • physical activity guidelines
  • university students
  • Finland
  • gender
  • college health

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