Intention to Engage in Physical Activity

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・15 Sources

Physical activity is beneficial to health including weight management, reduced prevalence of diabetes and improved cardiovascular, mental and bone health. The Theory of Planned Behavior aids in describing the intention to exhibit behaviors which are beyond a person’s choice. The method is used to predict an execution of the physical activity. The objective of the study was to establish the intentions and behavior of Oakland University students in regards to physical activity by using the framework of Theory Planned Behavior. The theory was used to assess the health inhibiting and health promoting aspects affecting the undertaking of physical activity by students in college. The survey is a cross-sectional study done only once among students undertaking a course in Personal Health (PH 100).The institution's authority gave consent to carry out the research. Data collected was based on demographic factors as well as other factors impacting the behavior of physical activity among the students. Data collected was analyzed to establish the relationship between the intentions of students to undertake physical activity and the constructs of TPB. Approximately 40% of students in the study were categorized as having BMI higher than 25, hence termed as obese or overweight. Perceived Behavioral Control (PBC) and attitudes appeared to significantly affect the student's intention to engage in physical activity. Conclusively, the present scale of college students’ physical activity has a chance to improve. The TPB is helpful in laying the foundation for predicting college students’ intentions to engage in physical activity. It is useful in guiding initiatives designed to improve the rate of engagement in physical activity.

Thesis Statement

Perspectives, individual norms, and considered behavioral control do not significantly envision college students to become physically active.

Theory of Planned Behavior

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TBT) aids in the understanding how behavior is linked to behavior intentions. The theory describes how action plans control the behavior of an individual. Behavioral intentions are made up of three elements which include an individual’s attitude about the practice, the individual norm affecting the behavior’s performance and finally how a person identifies that they can adopt the behavior without difficulty (Rossmann, 2009). The opinion about behavior alludes to the way a person feels regarding the fulfillment of an action. This feeling can be positive or negative. Alselaimi (2010) reports that the feelings can be established through the assessment of a person's belief concerning outcomes and consequences expected to emerge out of the behavior that has been exhibited. For instance, if an individual’s attitude is positive the person will become optimistic and presume that a positive result can come from the behavior. Similarly, if an individual is often pessimistic and hardly believes that they can show the conduct, it is likely that the person will not exhibit the behavior. Subjective norm means the pressure and stress experienced by the person from other persons such as a friend, family. Finally, perceived behavioral control denotes an individual’s confidence and perception towards the possibility of them managing to perform a particular behavior by assuring themselves or by connecting to past practice in dealing well with the situation (Rossmann, 2009).

Purpose of the Study

Despite the existence of several interventions to increase physical activity, unhealthy diet and overweight cases continue to persist. Previous done concerning interventions in weight loss among young adults show that the interventions aimed at the population bore positive results in q1improving self-efficacy, reducing weight and the determination to control weight as well as improve self-esteem among the young people. Nevertheless, college students poorly embrace these interventions. Consequently, researchers recommend for more studies to be done in order to recognize the behavioral beliefs and perspectives among college students in regards to physical activity. This study will identify potential barriers to help design health dietary interventions aimed at physical activity while applying the theory of planned behavior. The objective of this research is to use the TPB as the basis of investigating elements affecting the undertaking of physical activity by college students in Oakland University College.

Literature Review

BMI and gender seem to contribute substantially towards prevalence in overweight. Bellows (2012) has suggested that obesity and overweight are more prevalent among males than females. For instance, a survey was done among 73% college students of ages 17-26 regarding physical activity, dietary habits and overweight revealed for every female four men were likely to be overweight although not obese (Hobbs, 2013). In another study, a particular category of first-year students was followed for a year during which their physical and eating habits were monitored (Alselaimi, 2010). Perceived benefits of physical activity contributed significantly to the willingness to engage in physical activity. However, perceived obstacles decreased the desire to become physically active (Rossmann, 2009).
Many studies shown that the Theory of Planned Behavior, can be used effectively to predict physical activity. Studies show that a considerable measure of weight gain happened in colleges. Findings in a study by Alselaimi (2010) indicated that first-year students earned an average of six pounds. These outcomes resulted from research which was carried out in one college between the period of fall and spring semesters. In this study, 200 freshmen participated during which it was discovered that there was a weight gain of 2-6 pounds in a period of the first 3-4 months in college (Vuori, 2001). Reasons attributed to this weight gain included the availability of unhealthy food, overeating due to stress and boredom, declined physical exercise and snacking (McEachan, 2010). It is recommended that adults spend at least 30 minutes in daily physical activity every week for better health. In Another study to measure the impact of early career transitions on physical activity behavior of Canadian academic professors: an application of the theory of planned behavior (2010), it was revealed that only about 48% of college students follow these recommendations. The research will help to recognize the aspects leading to the reduction in physical activity among students in colleges contrasted with their estimates in high school.
This study will be done by applying a whole behavior theory to investigate the determinants and ideas which envision physical activity. The statistics obtained can assist in guiding interventions public health workers and school administrations to promote physical activity among students in colleges. Research in Perceived Barriers has indicated the significance of perceived barriers while doing research on physical activity behavior among college students (Bouchard, 2012). According to earlier findings, it is considered suitable to pinpoint the barriers preventing students from Oakland University College from engaging in physical activity and the importance of boundaries in envisioning physical activity as well as the creation of the Theory of Planned Behavior (Rhodes, 2008).


Study Sample

This study employed both primary and secondary methods of data collection. The primary method involved the administration of questionnaires to students who were willing to participate in the survey. The secondary method involved reviewing literature from previous authors regarding previous studies done on physical activity using the theory of planned behavior. Secondary sources helped in explaining findings obtained by primary sources. The study conducted followed the standards of ethics both national and international involving the use of human participants.

Study Participants

The study participants were the undergraduate students of the Oakland University College. The sample chosen was the non-probability consisting of 325 students with 196 men and 129 ladies. The inclusion criteria used is that the students should be undergraduates who are doing a Health related courses and have a minimum age of 18 years. The study was conducted with the help of the teachers who directed on where to meet the specific target students.

Research Instruments

The material used was the questionnaire recommended by the World Health Organization on the socio-demographic and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) data. This form of questionnaire is recommended for the assessment of the physical activity from the age of 16 to 69 years. This instrument has all the questions related to the duration, frequency, and the intensity of the transport related, work-related physical activity questions, leisure, and domestic physical activity.


The research instruments were obtained and the students were reached with the help of the teachers who directed on the specific class rooms containing the target group. The under age students were asked to leave the class room and the eligible ones were issued the questionnaires to fill in. the explanation of why the study is being conducted and the importance of the results was explained to the students before filling the questionnaires. The students filled the questionnaires with the help of the instructions given.
The scores from the questionnaires were then analyzed. The score from the instrument classifies the students basing on the level of the activity as sedentary, irregularly active, active, and very active depending on the score found. The irregularly active and the sedentary groups were considered to be the groups at risk of the effects of inadequate exercise. The data collected was analyzed using the SPSS version 18.0 software and the STATA. Statistical significance of the study was derived and the conclusions made.


The mean age of the 325 students who participated in the survey was 20. The average BMI for all students was 24.A majority of the participants were categorized as obese or overweight, and weight perception over 50% of the students was that they usually weighed while over ten percent thought they were overweight. According to the study, about 30% were considered to be overweight. Measuring for the BMI index indicated that more males were obese as compared to females. Despite this outcome, more females perceived themselves to be fatter than men. Regarding sedentary behavior, majority of participants indicated to have spent less than 2 hours in front of the television, using the computer or playing video games. Over half of the population said they spent over 5 hours in a quiet position, within a span of 24 hours. The intention to do physical activity was not determined by factors such as BMI, age, race, residence or year of study.


In this study, several aspects contributing towards the intention by students from Oakland University College to engage in physical activity were examined using the framework of the Theory of Planned Behavior. The study established whether the constructs of TBP can predict the intention by students to engage in physical activity (Hardeman, 2011). Obstacles to participating in physical activity were also examined to understand the effects of different aspects regarding the perceived capability of students to obtain sufficient levels of physical exercise.
The present status of students BMI and the link between BMI and gender were examined. Even though the population of students with regular weight rates exceeded that of the obese or overweight population, the popularity of obesity or overweight does not matter. In this study, there was a significant connection between gender and BMI with males having a higher outcome (Zolait, 2011). A possible reason for this disparity could be that male students have bigger muscle compared to female students (Kiriakidis, 2017). Female students regarded themselves to be overweight possibly due to image issues. The number of students who seemed to have attained recommended more vigorous levels of physical exercise were more than those who matched recommendation on moderate physical activity. This disparity may be due to the description of the two types of physical activities. It is likely that students perceived walking to be a vigorous exercise (Hogan, 2014).


The leading causes of chronic diseases can be prevented through the change of lifestyle. Despite knowing this, people still engage in risky lifestyles such as insufficient physical activity ad poor dietary habits. Students in college are going through a stage in which today’s practices form the basis of their future behavior. It is recommended that they begin to adopt healthier lifestyle such as increased physical exercise. Nonetheless, the rate of physical activity is persistently low, and cases of overweight continue to rise. This study presents an earlier relationship between increased overweight with limited physical exercise. Therefore the objective of the survey was to establish elements responsible for motivating or preventing students from engaging in physical activities. Findings in this study can aid in making future interventions and plans regarding students’ intention in doing physical activity. The theory of planned Behavior tries to describe behavior which is beyond a person’s total control. The study also collaborates with current literature concerning TPB’s predictive value affecting physical activity. For an increase in physical activity, the basis of TPB can be applied in the execution of programs aimed at promoting physical exercise among students.


Interventions created the school authority at Oakland University College to improve physical activities ought to educate students regarding the adoption of exercise facilities at the beginning of college (Chao,2012).Issues concerning body image should be addressed to boost the student's confidence to participate in the physical activity (Alselaimi, 2010). Students should also be educate concerning advantages of physical activity especially about becoming healthier and improved academic performance.

Limitations of the Study

This survey forms the basis for more studies to be done regarding the relationship between body image and physical behavior. Several limitations were encountered while carrying out the research. First, the study was based on cross-sectional sampling. The population sampled was not an entirely actually representative of the whole population. In addition the individual reports regarding height and weight used in calculating BMI were not as accurate as when an instrument would have been used to measure the same.


Alselaimi, A. (2010). Using the theory of planned behaviour to investigate the antecedents of physical activity participation among Saudi adolescents (1st ed.). University of Exeter
Archer, T. (2014). Health Benefits of Physical Exercise for Children and Adolescents. Journal Of Novel Physiotherapies, 04(02). retrieved on 31/5/17
Bellows Riecken, K., & Wharf Higgins, S. (2012). Reading into physical activity (1st ed.).
Bouchard, C., Blair, S., & Haskell, W. (2012). Physical activity and health (1st ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Chao, Y. (2012). Predicting people’s environmental behaviour: theory of planned behaviour and model of responsible environmental behaviour. Environmental Education Research, 18(4), 437-461. retrieved on 30/5/17
Hardeman, W., Kinmonth, A., Michie, S., & Sutton, S. (2011). Theory of planned behaviour cognitions do not predict self-reported or objective physical activity levels or change in the ProActive trial. British Journal Of Health Psychology, 16(1), 135-150. retrieved on 29/5/17
Hobbs, N., Dixon, D., Johnston, M., & Howie, K. (2013). Can the theory of planned behaviour predict the physical activity behaviour of individuals?. Psychology & Health, 28(3), 234-249. retrieved on 30/5/17
Hogan, C., Catalino, L., Mata, J., & Fredrickson, B. (2014). Beyond emotional benefits: Physical activity and sedentary behaviour affect psychosocial resources through emotions. Psychology & Health, 30(3), 354-369. retrieved on 27/5/17
Kiriakidis, S. (2017). Theory of Planned Behaviour: the Intention-Behaviour Relationship and the Perceived Behavioural Control (PBC) Relationship with Intention and Behaviour. International Journal Of Strategic Innovative Marketing. 28/5/17
McEachan, R., Sutton, S., & Myers, L. (2010). Mediation of Personality Influences on Physical Activity within the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Journal Of Health Psychology, 15(8), 1170-1180. retrieved on 28/5/17
Rhodes, R., & Blanchard, C. (2008). Do sedentary motives adversely affect physical activity? Adding cross-behavioural cognitions to the theory of planned behaviour. Psychology & Health, 23(7), 789-805. retrieved on 29/5/17
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Zolait, A. (2011). The nature and components of perceived behavioural control as an element of theory of planned behaviour. Behaviour & Information Technology, 33(1), 65-85. retrieved on 31/5/17

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