Date of Award

8-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Health and Physical Education

First Advisor

Robert Kostelnik, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Alman, D. Ed.

Third Advisor

Joshua Castle, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that influence why students attend or do not attend the fitness and recreation centers provided to them on campus. With the obesity epidemic growing substantially over the past several decades, it has consequentially affected a vast majority of the nation, including the college-age population. In response to this, the use of fitness and recreation centers on college campuses and universities has become a focal point for administrators and recreation center managers as a focus on student recruitment and retention. The study utilized an online questionnaire which was adapted and revised from a prior survey and corresponding research that assessed fitness and recreation center usage within the college population (Zizzi, Ayers, Watson & Keeler, 2004). The survey used for collection of data in this study assessed factors related to college students’ usage or non-usage of campus recreational facilities by college students. It was distributed to a random sample of 1,100 undergraduate students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania through their student e-mail account. Results from the data collected in this study revealed that users were more likely to be male, Caucasian, non-smokers, and have no health concerns, which is representative of prior research on fitness and recreation center participation. Factors related to usage of the recreational facilities included maintaining one’s current weight as well as weight loss. Factors that influenced occasional non-usage in the user group were lack of time and energy, too much schoolwork, and inadequate facility operational hours. A factor related to non-usage included proximity of the recreational facility in relation to the students’ living arrangements. University administrators and fitness and recreation center managers need to be conscious of the factors that influence usage for the purpose of encouraging student recruitment and retention. Higher levels of usage will increase physical activity and influence health and wellness in the college population.

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