Feasibility of a Campus-Based “Buddy System” to Promote Physical Activity: Canadian Students’ Perspectives

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Objective:

To explore the characteristics of a university-wide buddy system that students would be receptive to using.

Methods:

This study targeted a heterogeneous sample of undergraduate university students age 18 to 25 y. An experienced moderator, using a semi-structured interview guide, conducted 13 focus groups (n = 65). Focus group discussions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive content analysis was conducted independently by two researchers. Measures were incorporated throughout to ensure data trustworthiness.

Results:

The value of this campus-based physical activity intervention was emphasized by the vast majority of participants. Five main themes exemplified students' preferences: sign-up methods; matching criteria; social components; policies and procedures; and contact methods.

Conclusion:

Students confirmed that a campus-based program tailored to their needs and preferences will be more effective than those to which they currently have access. Given the small number of physically active Canadian university students, a campus-based program that is appealing is important for the health of this population.

The authors are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada.

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