Kinesiology Student’s Poor Body Composition Could Impact Future Job Opportunities

October 28, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – “The freshman 15” is a rite-of-passage that anyone who has gone to college has had to endure, and for most students, it is nothing more than an inconvenience. However, research co-authored by faculty in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Ph.D. student, Paul Saville, from McMaster University in Canada, recently discovered that the extra weight could affect more than students’ health. Whether they are hired could be at stake.

“These findings come as a reality check to students whose credibility and success on the job can be impacted by their physical fitness,” said Dr. Frank Spaniol, Professor of Kinesiology. “To become more competitive in the workforce, undergraduate student should remember to hit the gym as well as their textbooks.”

The research article in the “Journal of Sport Behavior” by Spaniol, Dr. Randy Bonnette, Dr. Don Melrose, and Lindsey Jarrett, “Health-Related Fitness of Undergraduate Kinesiology Students,” suggests that undergraduate kinesiology students need to improve their overall health. Personal trainers and health professionals often inspire their clients by serving as a positive role model and a trainer who practices what they teach will always seem more credible. This is important to kinesiology students who are just starting their careers and students who apply for jobs may be evaluated on more than their resume credentials.

Carl Suding, an environmental science major, understands what this research is revealing. He already sees the implications with his job as a personal trainer for the University’s Recreational Sports.  

“An education and what you know does go far, but if students don’t look the part then they won’t get much respect on the job,” he said.  “I make sure that everything I put a client through I can do perfectly so that I can feel comfortable teaching and motivating them.”

Researchers investigated the health-related fitness of 227 undergraduate kinesiology students and compared them to the contemporary recommended guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine. Ninety-eight women and 129 men completed five fitness tests covering four areas.

Both male and female students performed significantly better than the recommended standards in the areas of flexibility and muscular endurance. However, it was also found that both genders have significantly poorer body composition than the recommended standards. Body composition encompasses fat, bone, water, and muscle percentages as well as overall weight. This means that students who look thin may not necessarily be the healthiest. Other fitness standards, such as cardiorespiratory endurance were also discussed in the article.