Limestone University's Dr. Felicia Cavallini, 2 Students Have Research Published In Medical Journal

Charles Wyatt
Limestone Students Have Research Published

Limestone Professor of Physical Education Dr. Felicia Cavallini and two of the University’s students recently had a research paper published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention.

In the paper, entitled “Elderly Individuals have Similar Attitudes Towards Physical Activity and Exercise as the Young and Middle Aged, but are Less Likely to Seek Companionship or Gym Memberships,” the authors looked to examine the views and perceptions the elderly population of South Carolina have on physical activity and exercise compared to their younger counterparts.

The study was conducted by Cavallini and two students from Limestone, Austin “AJ” Covan and Abigail “Abi” Tredway. Dr. David J. Dyck from the University of Guelph is also listed as an author on the paper.

The research utilized focus group discussions and a subsequent survey in order to gather data on the thoughts people 65 years or older have on physical activity and exercise. The data was then compared to data on people 18-64 years of age, which had been compiled by Cavallini and Dyck before being published in 2020.

All 345 participants were from Cherokee County in South Carolina.

Their findings show that the older adult population views physical activity and exercise in a similar way as the younger portion of the population, though there were some minor differences.

For instance, while most age groups prefer lifestyle physical activity, such as cleaning or gardening, a larger proportion of women aged 65 years or older found traditional exercise to be preferable. Meanwhile, older men were less likely than the younger groups to seek out companionship while engaging in physical activity.

Cavallini stressed that “one size does not fit all,” when it comes to physical activity, even with largely similar views between age groups. Ultimately, whether they are socializing or alone during physical activity, people over the age of 65 or older need to make sure they are reaching the suggested guidelines.

“The medical, healthcare, academic, and fitness professional communities should uniquely approach and educate the senior adults on the benefits of physical activity and help shape unique activities,” she said. 

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, at least 15 of the “MyActivity” graphics have been published in peer-review national and international research journals.

Accompanying photo: Limestone students Austin “AJ” Covan and Abigail “Abi” Tredway.