Major Department

Health and Human Physiology


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Gary Pierce

Thesis Mentor

Lucas Carr


The purpose of this study is to test the effect an instructor-led activity break intervention on college students’ standing time, sitting time, physical comfort and alertness during class. The participants of this study were recruited from four sections of a course called Writing for Health and Human Physiology (HHP:3900). The class duration is 2.5 hours and is taught by the same instructor. Each student was exposed to two conditions: 1) access to sit-stand desks only; and 2) access to sit-stand desks plus instructor led activity breaks every 30 minutes. Sitting and standing behaviors were measured objectively throughout the class with an ActivPAL activity monitor. Comfort and alertness were measured three times (minute 0, 60, 120) using previously demonstrated scales. No significant changes were observed for sitting time or standing time between the two conditions. Additionally, no between group changes were observed for self-reported discomfort or alertness. However, participants did report they enjoyed the instructor-led activity breaks and would support the use of this type of intervention in future classes. The null findings are likely due to testing the intervention in a class led by an engaging instructor who encouraged students to move during class on a regular basis. This study needs to be replicated in traditional lecture style classes in which students are asked to sit for extended periods of time.


sit-stand desks, college students, instructor-led activity breaks, behavioral medicine, sedentary behavior

Total Pages

18 pages


Copyright © 2017 Ashley Raulli