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  • Author: Aubrianne E. Rote x
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Aubrianne E. Rote, Lori A. Klos, Michael J. Brondino, Amy E. Harley and Ann M. Swartz

Background:

Facebook may be a useful tool to provide a social support group to encourage increases in physical activity. This study examines the efficacy of a Facebook social support group to increase steps/day in young women.

Methods:

Female college freshmen (N = 63) were randomized to one of two 8-week interventions: a Facebook Social Support Group (n = 32) or a Standard Walking Intervention (n = 31). Participants in both groups received weekly step goals and tracked steps/day with a pedometer. Women in the Facebook Social Support Group were also enrolled in a Facebook group and asked to post information about their steps/day and provide feedback to one another.

Results:

Women in both intervention arms significantly increased steps/day pre- to postintervention (F (8,425) = 94.43, P < .001). However, women in the Facebook Social Support Group increased steps/day significantly more (F (1,138) = 11.34, P < .001) than women in the Standard Walking Intervention, going from 5295 to 12,472 steps/day.

Conclusions:

These results demonstrate the potential effectiveness of using Facebook to offer a social support group to increase physical activity in young women. Women in the Facebook Social Support Group increased walking by approximately 1.5 miles/day more than women in the Standard Walking Intervention which, if maintained, could have a profound impact on their future health.

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Ann M. Swartz, Sergey Tarima, Nora E. Miller, Teresa L. Hart, Elizabeth K. Grimm, Aubrianne E. Rote and Scott J. Strath

The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between sedentary behavior (SB), physical activity (PA), and body fat (total, abdominal) or body size (body-mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC]) in community-dwelling adults 50 yr old and over. This study included 232 ambulatory adults (50–87 yr, 37.4% ± 9.6% body fat [BF]). Average daily time spent in SB (<100 counts/min) and light (100–759 counts/min), lifestyle-moderate (760–1,951 counts/min), walking-moderate (1,952–5,724cts/min), and vigorous-intensity (≥5,725 counts/min) PA were determined by accelerometer and corrected for wear time. BF was measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. SB was positively related to measures of BF. Measures of SB, PA, and gender accounted for 55.6% of the variance in total BF, 32.4% of the variance in abdominal fat, and 28.0% of the variance in WC. SB, PA, and age accounted for 27.1% of the variance in BMI. Time spent in SB should be considered when designing obesity interventions for adults 50 yr old and over.