Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Howie, Erin

Committee Member/Reader

Sullivan, Amanda


Background: Asthma is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in the United States. Research has shown that one form of asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, is experienced by the overwhelming majority of individuals with the condition during physical activity, potentially causing fear and avoidance of physical activity in the future. Physical inactivity could have several negative health implications, including lower lung function and aerobic fitness levels. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to compare lung function, aerobic fitness, and physical activity levels between young adults with asthma to those without asthma. The hypothesis is that there will be a statistically significant difference between groups, with the participants with asthma having lower levels. Methodology: Undergraduate students ages 18-25 were recruited to participate in the study by the Exercise is Medicine Initiative at the University of Arkansas. Self-reported background information was collected through an online survey, and from this, participants were recruited to perform an EIM fitness assessment, as well as a spirometry test to collect FVC/FEV1 data. Physical activity levels between participants with asthma and those without was compared using a Wilcoxan Rank Sum test. Associations between fitness and physical activity with spirometry measures were made using Spearman Correlations. Results: A total of 899 participants(40.2% female) completed the IPAQ survey, with 759 participants reporting no asthma and 140 participants reporting having asthma. Participants without asthma reported, on average, 100.0 mins/day walking(SD-104.6), 96.6 mins/day of moderate PA(SD-114.0), and 44.8 mins/day of vigorous PA(SD-68.5), resulting in an average of 4850.3 Total MET min/week(SD-4917.4). In the same categories, the asthma participants averaged 93.5 mins/day(SD-116.3), 99.4 mins/day(SD-131.6), 36.8 mins/day(SD-65.5), and 4513.0 MET min/week(SD-6037.7). There was no statistically significant difference between the groups for any of these categories, as the p-values are .068,.464, .164, and .059, respectively. Of the participants who completed the fitness assessment(n=28, 50% female), the average age was 21.4 years(SD-1.1) and 21.1(SD-0.9), VO2max 42.7(SD-6.8) and 36.02(SD-4.3), FVC 4.5(SD0.5) and 3.24(SD-0.8), FEV1 3.5(SD-0.8) and 2.7(SD-0.7), counts/minute 2080.4(SD-457.1) and 1922.1(SD-388.9), and steps/day was 11494.5(SD-3635.3) and 11846.1(SD-2359.0) for males and females, respectively. The Spearman correlation association values for FVC were .35(p=.11) for VO2max, .08(p=.73) for counts/min, and .18(p=.43) for steps/day, indicating a slightly positive, but not statistically significant correlation between FEV and all three variables. For FEV1, the correlation was .10(p=.665) for VO2max, -.02(p=.923) for counts/min, and .24(p=.28) for steps/day, resulting in slightly positive correlations for FEV1 with VO2max and steps/day, and a slightly negative correlation with counts/min. Again, there is no statistically significant difference for any of the variables. Discussion: From our data, we can conclude that physical activity levels does not differ between those with or without asthma. We can also conclude there is no significant correlation between aerobic fitness/physical activity and FVC/FEV1 measures.


Asthma, Physical Activity