Student NameNoah Towbin
Faculty Mentor NameDanielle Jake-Schoffman PhD
CollegeCollege of Health & Human Performance
Research InterestsPhysical fitness and health disparities
Academic AwardsNational Merit Scholar 2019, IDS 1161 This I Believe Audio Essay Competition Finalist, Benacquisto Scholar, President's Honor Roll, Dean's List, Emerging Scholars Program 2021
OrganizationsCreative Section Editor of the PRISM Honors Creative Writing Magazine, Leadership Development Captain for Dance Marathon at UF, Social Director of UF MEDLIFE, Theta Chi Fraternity
VolunteeringElementary School Volunteer with the UF Chemistry Club Outreach Program, Communications and Organization Volunteer at the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital, Patient Communications Volunteer at the Mission Medical Center
Hobbies and InterestsTraveling, creative writing, eating cool foods, and physical fitness

Research Project

COVID-19 and Physical Activity in University of Florida Students: A Survey Study

Public health recommendations suggest that for general health promotion and prevention of chronic disease, adults should aim to engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week.1 Additionally, the recommendations call for muscle-strengthening exercises on at least two days a week.1 COVID-19 has, in many cases, limited availability and accessibility of gym facilities and equipment for many populations across the United States. The specific aim of this study is to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the physical activity levels of full-time undergraduate students attending the University of Florida. Additionally, we will collect data on the interest of University of Florida students to use digital tools to encourage physical activity during and after COVID-19. These data will help us understand and describe the impact of COVID-19 and its associated disruptions (e.g., social distancing, stay-at-home mandates, and mask ordinances) on student health and provide potential recommendations for tools to support students moving forward. In this study, we will administer a survey about the physical activity levels of college-aged students at the University of Florida (UF) before, during, and after the COVID-19 disruptions (e.g., social distancing, stay-at-home mandates, mask ordinances) of 2020. Using standardized measures (e.g., Stanford L-Cat, PACES-8, and PAR-Q (eligibility)), the survey will be designed to assess physical activity trends in this age group across time and current physical activity enjoyment. Other covariates will include participants’ access to and usage of exercise facilities, locations of residence, and time spent engaging in muscle-strengthening activity. Following IRB approval, we will program the survey into REDCap. We will recruit participants via flyers, emails sent through club and organization ListServs, and word of mouth. All recruitment materials will include a link directly to the web survey as well as contact information for the research team in case prospective participants have questions. Our target sample is 200 full-time UF students between the ages of 18 and 24. A $30 Amazon e-giftcard will be given to every 50th participant as an incentive for completion of the survey. At the end of the questionnaire, participants will have the option to enter their email address into REDCap to be considered for compensation. ANOVA will be used to analyze the data and determine if significant relationships exist between the COVID-19 disruptions and any of the mentioned variables. Ultimately, we intend on presenting the findings of this study at the University of Florida Undergraduate Research Symposium. Depending on the significance of the produced data, we will publish the study in an accredited professional journal or the UF Journal of Undergraduate Research. References: 1. Piercy, K. L., Troiano, R. P., Ballard, R. M., Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Galuska, D. A., … Olson, R. D. (2018). The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Jama, 320(19), 2020–2028.