Declining physical activity levels as an unintended consequence of abolishing mandatory campus service fees
Objective: This study investigates the effect of the introduction of voluntary student unionism and subsequent increase in campus facility fees on engagement in physical activity on campus. Participants: Participants were 1,904 students from a large regional NSW (Australia) university across 3 time periods (926 in 2005, 504 in 2006, and 474 in 2007). Methods: Students completed a survey across the 3 time periods, responding to questions about physical activity levels, use of on-campus and off-campus facilities, and barriers to facility use. Results: Participation in physical activity at university facilities was low overall, and declined substantially between 2005 and 2007, with the proportion of students identifying cost as a barrier more than doubling over this time period. Conclusions: There is a need for policy makers to consider the unintended health impacts of such policy changes, particularly in relation to the impact on already insufficient levels of physical activity.
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