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Faculty-Student Collaborative Research
Studies Effects of Second Hand Smoking
MAILED: Dec. 9, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- A faculty/student collaborative research study concerning pulmonary function has produced some surprising results in the first three months of operation.
Dr. Don Bredle, assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and senior kinesiology major Peg Peelman, Eau Claire, have found 17 percent of the 200 freshman participants tested to date report current or previous asthma, a higher than previously reported level. Thirty-one percent of participants also have had substantial exposure to second-hand smoke, Bredle said.
Bredle designed the study to uncover information about the effects of second hand smoking, asthma, and physical activity levels on pulmonary function in the college-age population. The research also will provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to participate in a large professional-caliber study.
The study requires participants to take forced vital capacity and maximal ventilation tests with a spirometer, an instrument that measures lung strength, Peelman said. So far, 200 freshmen have been tested. The goal is to test about 1,000 freshmen by May.
"We need to test a large group to get a more accurate measurement of this generation's pulmonary functions and to be able to make associations with the variables which are not so common," Bredle said. "With a large research population, it's possible to assess subtle changes in pulmonary functions which typically occur slowly."
The longitudinal study will test participants again in four years, Peelman said. Bredle hopes some students will agree to continue re-testing into their post-college lives to help researchers determine the long-term correlation between lifestyle and pulmonary function.
"Participants should gain a greater understanding of the factors that influence lung capacity, and we hope they will make changes in their exercise or smoking habits if necessary," Peelman said.
Today, young people are more aware of the benefits of exercise and the dangers of smoking, Bredle said. Women are now more likely to be involved in exercise programs, unlike women in their parent's generation, but the study has determined that one-third of current participants smoke.
Bredle and Peelman plan to present their preliminary findings at the American College of Sports Medicine national conference in May. For more information about the study, or to become a participant, contact Bredle at (715) 836-3953.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 9, 1997