Faculty and Student Research

The Health & Human Performance Department offers opportunities for its students to conduct research utilizing the Kessler Exercise Physiology lab.  Students may conduct research in conjunction with the McNair Scholars program or an independent study course.  Students also have the opportunity to apply to present their research at appropriate regional or national conferences, including Northland Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AHPERD) or its local chapters. 

Recent Projects


Thomason, Brandon (William F. Simpson).  Comparison of Health Behaviors and Physical Fitness Profiles of College Age Students.  Presented at American College of Sports Medicine National Meeting, Indianapolis, IN.   

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between alcohol and tobacco use and physical fitness among college students at a small liberal arts Midwestern university. Methods: A total of 79 students (mean age = 21.7, ±4.8yrs) volunteered to participate in this study. The cohort was primarily comprised of first year students (53.2% male and 46.8% female) all enrolled in a general education health and wellness course. Each participant was given a survey with questions including health history and health behaviors emphasizing both tobacco and alcohol use. A fitness assessment was completed per individual using a computerized fitness assessment package composed of: heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), body composition, muscular strength, flexibility, and submaximal predicted VO2max. Data from the survey and the fitness assessment were then compared for each individual using ANOVA. Data were also compared to state and national normative data. Results: When compared to the 2005 national and state averages, results indicate lower rates of tobacco use and binge drinking (drinking 1x/wk and consuming >4drinks/session). However, heavy drinking, (drinking ≥2x/week and consuming >4drinks/session), was double the 2005 national and state averages. ANOVA revealed no significant differences regarding fitness levels between those who practice healthy behaviors and those who do not. Conclusion: Overall tobacco and alcohol use was lower in this population than national and state averages. There were no health or fitness differences between individuals in this cohort who did and did not live healthy lifestyles. A larger sample size and the collection of longitudinal data will allow for broader future inferences for this population regarding the continued effects of early tobacco and alcohol use on fitness levels.
Supported by the McNair Scholar Program University of Wisconsin - Superior.