Jeff Pauline receives grant to identify methods for increasing physical activity among college students

Jeff Pauline, Ed.D., assistant professor, Department of Sport Management, received a grant to identify methods for increasing physical activity among college students.

The prevalence of obesity in the United States is at an all-time high. The time period young adults spend in college is viewed as a critical period of weight gain. Reduced physical activity coupled with increased sedentary activities, such as studying and computer use, and a change in eating habits, creates the perfect storm for gaining weight. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology has awarded assistant professor of sport management, Jeff Pauline, a grant to identify methods to increase everyday physical activity within the college-age population. In Pauline’s study, entitled, “Increasing Stair Usage in a University Residential Complex,” he is exploring the impact of tailored motivational messages, such as point-of-decision prompts and cues to action, to increase stair use within an on-campus residential complex at Syracuse University.

To date, the three-phase observational study monitored stair and elevator usage with directional infrared sensors. A baseline measurement of stair and elevator use was completed 24-hours a day for two weeks during the study’s first phase. In the next phase, an intervention utilized point-of-decision prompts and cues to action to increase stair usage. One residential hall was exposed to motivational signage in their living environments and the other residential hall received calls to action via email for two weeks. During the study’s last phase, stair and elevator usage was recorded for two weeks without motivational messages or reminders. Stair-use rates increased significantly from Phase I to Phase II for both groups. The significant increase in stair usage was maintained during Phase III. Recommendations for future research are currently underway.