The Effects of Campus Forest-Walking Program for College Students in Korea: Evidence From 3 Months Follow-Up

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Kyung-Sook Bang, PhD, RN
Insook Lee, PhD, RN
Sungjae Kim, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, The Republic of

Purpose: Despite of an increased interest in health promotion, it is not easy for college students to perform and maintain an appropriate level of physical activity. Also, their psychological health was threatened under high level of stress. This study conducted a campus forest-walking program for undergraduate and graduate students in one university during their lunchtime using the campus forest, and it aims to determine the immediate and long-term effects in physical and psychological aspects.

Methods: This study was a non-equivalent control group pre-posttest design. The participants were 118 students (experimental group=60, control group=58). The intervention was a 6-week campus forest-walking Program based on the Information-Motivation-Behavior skills Model for promoting physical and mental health. The intervention comprised of 6 week campus forest walking program and lecture of stress management. The intervention group participated in campus forest walking program once a week together during lunchtime for 6 weeks. Also, we provided a lecture on stress management one time during this program. Pretest, posttest, and 3-month follow-up after finishing the program were measured using self-report questionnaires and physiological measurements using blood analysis, body composition analysis, bone density, and heart-rate viability (HRV). Finally, 51 in intervention group and 48 in control group were included in the data analysis. Chi-square test, t-test, and repeated measure ANOVA with SPSS 22.0 were used to evaluate the effects of a campus forest-walking program.

Results: Health promoting behaviors (F=7.27, p=.001), percent body fat (F=3.41, p=.035), para-sympathetic nerve activity (F=3.69, p=.027) were significantly different between two groups in group by time interaction analysis using repeated measure ANOVA. Depression (F=3.15, p=.045) was significantly decreased in the experimental group after the intervention compared to the control group. This study is meaningful because we confirmed the effects in both of subjective and objective data, and in both of physical and psychological health. Also, lasting effects were identified in 3-month follow-up after finishing the intervention as well as immediate effects.

Conclusion: The campus-walking program targeting undergraduate and graduate students during lunchtime is an efficient strategy to promote their physical and psychological health.