How does the university environment relate to student’s physical activity patterns in Ireland

Joey Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie H Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Catherine Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Identifying factors related to physical activity in university students can aid the development of health promotion interventions, but there is limited research regarding the influence of university environments. This study examined the relationship between level of provision for university environments that aim to promote physical activity and self-reported physical activity patterns of students.
An environmental audit tool was completed by universities (n = 28) on the island of Ireland to acquire information about physical activity opportunities, resources and supports offered. Students (N = 6,951; 50.7 % male; 21.51 ± 5.55 years) completed an online survey, providing responses about their active transport and recreational physical activity behaviours. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between environmental factors that support physical activity and clustered physical activity patterns, while controlling for gender, age and university size.
Universities with a high provision for organisational structures and internal partnerships, indoor facilities, and sport clubs increase the odds of their students having more active physical activity patterns. Increased provision of investment and personnel were seen to have a mixed relationship with students physical activity engagement, highlighting the need to understand where resources are needed and not just increase them.
It is important for universities to have adequate organisational structures with internal partnerships to understand how resources can be maximised to support physical activity engagement across the whole student population. University campuses hold the potential for increasing student engagement in physical activity and these findings can help inform campus-wide initiatives that foster active student populations for improving overall long term health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Apr 2024

Structured keywords

  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences


  • environmental audit
  • association
  • health


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