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Kinesiology Students Win Honors for Research

RELEASED: April 28, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — Four University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire kinesiology students tied for first place for research papers they presented at the Northland American College of Sports Medicine Spring Tutorial Meeting March 28.

Seniors Amy Nikolai, Marshfield, and Brittany Novotny, Plover, presented their paper, "The Cardiovascular and Metabolic Responses to Water Aerobics Exercise in Middle-aged and Older Adults."

In their paper, Nikolai and Novotny classified water exercise as a feasible alternative to traditional land-based exercise since some individuals have difficulty with traditional exercise.

To do the experiment, the researchers hooked up subjects to a metabolic analyzer and a heart rate monitor while they participated in a 50-minute water aerobics class at UW-Eau Claire. They also obtained resting and maximal exercise data from the subjects.

"Our results concluded that water exercise does meet the American College of Sports Medicine's physical activity guidelines for improving and maintaining cardio respiratory fitness, which is a key factor in preventing and controlling disease," Novotny said.

Senior Whitney Hay, New Richmond, and December 2007 graduate Laura Geissler, Coon Rapids, Minn., presented their paper, "The Knowledge and Prevalence of the American College of Sports Medicine Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Fitness in College Students."

"The purpose of our study was to risk stratify college students for cardiovascular disease according to the American College of Sports Medicine and to assess their cardiovascular fitness," Geissler said. "We had 81 students from a general education wellness theory class participate. Each participant completed a health knowledge survey prior to participation."

Geissler said the study found there was a general lack of knowledge among participants regarding cardiovascular disease.

"Our most striking results showed that 55 percent of participants were dyslipidemic (had abnormal lipid profiles with high total cholesterol, low HDL-cholesterol, high LDL-cholesterol and/or high triglycerides) and 57 percent did not meet physical activity recommendations," Geissler said. "After evaluating each participant for cardiovascular disease, we found 49 percent were stratified at moderate risk and 51 percent at low risk for the disease."

The results clearly demonstrate a need for intervention within this population, Hay said.

"If the risk factors are already present at age 18-25, they are most likely going to increase with age and could result in serious conditions and diseases," Hay said.

Geissler and Hay hope the results of their study will be used to increase knowledge of cardiovascular disease among college students, thereby decreasing their risk of getting it.

Each duo was awarded $375 to go toward field-related activities, certifications and conferences. Both papers were done as faculty-student collaborative projects in fall 2007 with Dr. Lance Dalleck, assistant professor of kinesiology.

For more information, contact Dalleck at 715-836-3774 or



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