Reducing Sedentary Behavior: Active Steps for Overweight Women

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Keene State College
  • 2 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
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Even with adequate levels of physical activity, sedentary behavior contributes to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Reducing sedentary behavior through increased daily movements, not solely exercise, can reduce health risks; particularly for women who are inactive and overweight. This study examined an intervention to increase overweight women’s self-efficacy for reducing sedentary behavior. Volunteers (M age =58.5 yrs, M BMI =36) were waitlisted (n = 24) or enrolled in the intervention (n = 40), called On Our Feet, which combined face-to-face sessions and e-mail messages over 6 weeks. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured by accelerometer and self-report. A 4-item survey assessed self-efficacy. Process evaluations included participant ratings of intervention components and open-ended questions. Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed no changes in accelerometer-determined physical activity or sedentary behavior, but a significant multivariate interaction was found for self-reported sitting and physical activity, F(3,60) = 3.65, p = .02. Intervention participants increased both light and moderate physical activity and both groups decreased sedentary behavior. Self-efficacy decreased for all at midpoint, but intervention recipients rebounded at post. A moderately strong relationship (r = .48, p = .01) between midpoint self-efficacy and reduced sedentary behavior was found. Participants rated the pedometer, intervention emails, and goal setting as effective and highly used. Open-ended responses pointed to barriers of required sitting and a need to match intervention components to women’s lives. Community-based interventions for reducing sedentary behavior have the potential to improve health. Ideas to enhance future interventions are discussed.

Adams is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Keene State College, Keene, NH. Gill is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

Address author correspondence to Melanie M. Adams at madams4@keene.edu.
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