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Physical Activity Participation and Nutrition and Physical Activity Knowledge in University Dance Students

Katherine Hanna, Anne Hanley, Avril Huddy, Michael McDonald, Fiona Willer
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 1: Page 1 (March 2017)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To assess participation in physical activity and knowledge of general nutrition and current public health messages about the health benefits of physical activity in university dance students, and to investigate differences between first-year and later-year students and between students in dance and dance performance course groups. METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited 67 participants from dance undergraduate degrees in a university in Australia. Nutrition knowledge was assessed using the General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire. Physical activity participation and awareness of its benefits were assessed using the Active Australia Survey. RESULTS: Results indicate low nutrition knowledge among dance students, with 47% and 52% of responses correct in dance and dance performance students, respectively. Nutrition knowledge did not vary between students in first or later years. Self-reported participation in moderate and vigorous physical activity varied substantially and met or exceeded recommendations based upon duration and frequency for 98% of participants. However, awareness of physical activity messages varied, with dance students more likely to disagree about the level of activity needed for health benefits. CONCLUSIONS: Dance students report varying levels of physical activity that usually met or exceeded recommendations; however, knowledge of general nutrition and physical activity benefits was low. Improved knowledge could contribute to changes in behavior that improve health status in this population.

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