Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment for the Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Education Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education); Under the Supervision of Professor Barbara Y. LaCost
Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 Michele Linder


With the introduction of technology into our daily lives, the need for physical exertion has decreased, which has led to an increase in sedentary lifestyles. Sedentary lifestyles lead to the state of obesity, and nearly two-thirds of the Unites States’ adult population is considered overweight or obese. This has resulted in a reduced quality of life, adverse health effects that strain the health care system, and tension on the financial condition of American companies. Current literature indicates that organizations that had implemented exercise or wellness programs reported healthier and more productive employees, an improved morale within the company, and significant savings per dollar spent on the exercise/wellness program.

The intent of this study was to provide an argument for the implementation of exercise programs into the higher education environment. Data were gathered from a variety of organizations regarding the personal and organizational benefits of such program implementation, and primary research was conducted to study the exercise behaviors of higher education employees at a small Midwestern university.

Data indicated that most employees at the small Midwestern University who responded did not receive the recommended weekly exercise. The employees who reported exercise participation did so for the mental/emotional benefits, as well as to improve appearance and weight management. Employees experienced barriers including lack of time and lack of employer support. Nearly 60% of most employees believed the institution should implement an exercise program.

Advisor: Barbara Y. LaCost

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