Determination of musculoskeletal system pain, physical activity intensity, and prolonged sitting of university students using smartphone

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Study aim: The purpose of this study was to examine smartphone-using university students’ musculoskeletal system pain complaints, duration of smartphone and computer usage, participation in moderate-vigorous physical activities (MVPA), and prolonged sitting time.

Material and methods: This study was conducted on Hitit University students (n = 387; 206 female, 181 male) in the province of Çorum. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form (IPAQ-SF), the Physical Activity Assessment Ques­tionnaire (PAAQ) (sports/exercise activities section), and a personal information form prepared by the researchers were used as data collection tools. Descriptive statistics and the t-test were used to determine differences between groups. The Pearson chi-square test was used to examine the relationship between categorical variables.

Results: It was observed that half of the participants with musculoskeletal system pain complaints (54.5%) feel the pain in all four areas (neck, shoulder, upper and lower back). There was no statistically significant relationship between physical activity intensity and pain complaint (p > 0.05). The students with musculoskeletal pain complaints spend more time on the smartphone and computer than students who do not have pain complaints (p < 0.05). During electronic device usage, the students who are in the low-intensity physical activity category spend more time sitting down than students in the moderate/vigorous intensity physical activity category (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: In consequence, information can be provided about the importance of reducing sitting time during smartphone use and increasing the duration of moderate/vigorous-intensity physical activity (PA) so awareness can be raised on the issue among university students.

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