Study aim: To assess body composition, health awareness and cardiorespiratory fitness in female university students differing in volume of obligatory physical activity classes.
Material and methods: 109 female students of the University of West Hungary volunteered to participate in the study. The subjects were divided into two groups according to frequency and volume of obligatory physical activity: students of recreation and health education programmes (RHE; n = 27) and of social pedagogy, tourism and catering, and teacher training programmes (STT; n = 82). Basic somatic characteristics were measured, body composition was assessed by bioelectrical impedance, cardiorespiratory fitness was evaluated using the Rockport Fitness Walking Test and health behaviour was assessed by questionnaire method. Student's t-test for independent samples, the U Mann Whitney test or chi-square test were used in data analysis.
Results: RHE students had higher values of percentage muscle mass (p<0.05) and of cardiorespiratory performance (p<0.001), they also declared significantly more frequently (p<0.001) practicing leisure physical activity as compared with the STT group. However, in both groups the symptoms of unhealthy behaviour were observed.
Conclusions: Although beneficial effects of augmented physical activity on body composition, cardiorespiratory performance and attitudes towards taking up leisure-time activity was noted, attention should be paid to symptoms of unhealthy behaviour observed in female students. This support the need for including obligatory physical education classes in university curriculum and the importance of education and promotion of healthy behaviour among the students.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.