Dr. Felicia Cavallini & Canadian Professor Have Collaborative Research Published

Monday, November 9, 2020 - 3:45pm
Cavallini Photo 2020

Limestone University Professor of Physical Education Dr. Felicia Cavallini and a colleague from Canada recently had a peer review publication accepted from the American Journal of Public Health Research.

In the article, “Preferences, Perceptions, And Top Motivators to Physical Activity Among Young And Middle-Aged Adults Are Not Influenced By Income Or Education Level,” Cavallini and Dr. David J. Dyck from the University of Guelph explore the influence of education level and household income on people’s preferences for physical activity.

The article determined that although socioeconomic status and education can impact a person’s participation level in physical activity, there was no indication participants differed in their responses regardless of the education and income background in this case. A common ground was found in communities when it comes to people’s preferences to want to engage more enthusiastically in lifestyle physical activity such as energetic yard work, brisk walking, raking leaves, and gardening.

Regardless of education and income level, most people in the study preferred lifestyle physical activity over more traditional exercises.

“If one of the objectives in the United States is to increase physical activity adherence, then there must be more emphasis on the pure enjoyment of the physical activity process as specified by the top three motivators ranked by the survey respondents,” said Cavallini. “Lifestyle physical activity can be fun and rewarding for all. Unfortunately, so many people find exercise to be difficult to enjoy and challenging to face every day. Furthermore, more education informing the public of the benefits of lifestyle physical activity, and consistently connecting pleasant, fun, and healthy physical activity images, educates, and motivates the public to live a more realistic, natural, and enjoyable physically active lifestyle as a way of meeting our physical activity guidelines.”

The research recognized that regardless of a person’s background, it is imperative that health professionals, the medical community, and professors recognize the importance of connecting to preferences to lifestyle

“More emphasis needs to be placed on encouraging all people to be active in and around their home, neighborhood, and community for a healthier body and mind,” Cavallini noted. “In addition, although most people appreciate and acknowledge the health benefits of exercise, its structured, deliberate, scheduled, intentional way of moving can be a mental roadblock for many and deter them from adhering to physical activity in the long run.”

Cavallini was awarded the prestigious, internationally distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant for 2014-2015 as a Visiting Research Chair in the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Guelph. Following her time in Guelph, Cavallini and her research team created “MyActivity” graphics to represent their findings. The graphics reflected the data gained from 13 diverse focus groups held during Cavallini’s time in Canada. Along with the research, currently 15 of the “MyActivity” graphics have been published in peer-review national and international research journals.

A Professor of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Dyck completed his Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Guelph, studying the mechanisms underlying the interaction between fat and carbohydrate utilization in contracting skeletal muscle. His primary interests involve the hormonal regulation of muscle lipid metabolism and its dysfunction in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. He currently has memberships in the Canadian and American Physiological Societies.