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Diane K. Ehlers and Jennifer L. Huberty

Background:

The purpose of this study was to describe which theory-based behavioral and technological features middle-aged women prefer to be included in a mobile application designed to help them adopt and maintain regular physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Women aged 30 to 64 years (N = 120) completed an online survey measuring their demographics and mobile PA application preferences. The survey was developed upon behavioral principles of Social Cognitive Theory, recent mobile app research, and technology adoption principles of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology. Frequencies were calculated and content analyses conducted to identify which features women most preferred.

Results:

Behavioral features that help women self-regulate their PA (PA tracking, goal-setting, progress monitoring) were most preferred. Technological features that enhance perceived effort expectancy and playfulness were most preferred. Many women reported the desire to interact and compete with others through the application.

Conclusions:

Theory-based PA self-regulation features and theory-based design features that improve perceived effort expectancy and playfulness may be most beneficial in a mobile PA application for middleaged women. Opportunities to interact with other people and the employment of social, game-like activities may also be attractive. Interdisciplinary engagement of experts in PA behavior change, technology adoption, and software development is needed.

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Michael William Beets, Jennifer Huberty and Aaron Beighle

Background:

National and state organizations have called upon afterschool programs (3–6 PM, ASP) to promote physical activity (PA). Few strategies exist that ASPs can use to increase the PA of children enrolled. This study evaluated a policy-level intervention (Movin’ Afterschool, MAS) designed to increase PA through staff implemented policy-level changes and ongoing technical support.

Methods:

Twelve preexisting community-based ASPs serving 580 children (5–12 yrs, 57% girls) were invited to take part in MAS. Evaluation of children’s PA, staff behaviors (engaged or promote PA, other ASP tasks, general supervising), and environmental features (equipment, organized PA) at baseline (Fall 2010) and postassessment (Spring 2011) were collected using SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth) for boys and girls, separately. Random effects models evaluated changes in PA categories (sedentary, walking, vigorous).

Results:

The percentage of boys and girls sedentary decreased by 11.8% and 11.4%, respectively. Girls walking increased by 6.9% while boys vigorous PA increased by 6.5%. Greater increases in vigorous activity were observed as postassessment in organized activities for boys and during indoor activities for girls.

Conclusions:

Findings indicate a policy-level approach targeting staff training and ongoing technical support can produce notable increases in PA within the ASP setting.

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Danae Dinkel, Jennifer Huberty, Melissa Tibbits and Melicia Whitt-Glover

Girls are less active than boys and in need of physical activity (PA) interventions. The time directly following school may be a prime opportunity to increase PA, specifically in girls. Afterschool programs and the staff who serve as role models play a critical role in promoting girls’ PA. However, staff do not always provide the support necessary to encourage girls to be active. Studies are needed to explore afterschool program staff’s perceptions of girls’ motivation, as well as their provision of support for autonomy, competence, and relationships with girls (relatedness) to understand how to best promote PA. The purpose of this study was to explore staff and girls’ perceptions of girls’ motivation for PA. The secondary purpose was to explore staff and girls’ perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness support for PA. Interviews with staff (n = 45) and focus groups with girls (n = 88) occurred in 10 afterschool program sites. Half of staff compared with a majority of girls thought girls’ motivation was intrinsic and self-determined (e.g., participated for enjoyment). Three-fourths of staff reported attempting to gain girls’ input and a majority of girls felt they had autonomy to choose or input on the PA provided. Half of staff compared with a quarter of girls thought girls’ competence was negatively impacted by other children. Finally, staff and girls reported spending time together in sedentary pursuits. Efforts are needed to ensure staff: understand girls’ PA motivation, create an autonomy supportive environment, and engage girls in active pursuits.

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Cara L. Sidman, Jennifer L. Huberty and Yong Gao

This study has two purposes: (1) to observe the step-count patterns of adult women who participated in an eight-month healthy lifestyle-based book club intervention and (2) to describe step-count patterns across seasons and body mass index (BMI) categories. Sixty-two participants (mean age ± SD = 53 ± 9, 92% Caucasians) had complete pedometer data, which was used for data analysis. After weekly, hour-long, discussion-based meetings during months one through four, and bi-monthly meetings during months five through eight, women increased their step counts by 26%. Significant step-count differences were observed among seasons (p < .05), and from pre- to post-intervention (p < .05), with the lowest steps being reported in the fall and the highest in the spring. Women in the obese category continued to increase steps during the winter, while the healthy-weight group decreased steps. There was a significant correlation between the average steps taken during the intervention and changes in BMI from pre- to post-intervention (r = −.26, p < .05). Overall, positive step-count pattern observations were found among adult women participating in a healthy lifestyle-based intervention.

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Emily L. Mailey, Jennifer Huberty and Brandon C. Irwin

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a web-based intervention to promote physical activity and self-worth among working mothers.

Methods:

Participants (N = 69) were randomly assigned to receive a standard web-based intervention or an enhanced intervention that included group dynamics strategies to promote engagement. The 8-week intervention was guided by self-determination theory. Each week, participants were instructed to complete 3 tasks: listen to a podcast related to well-being, complete a workbook assignment, and communicate with other participants on a discussion board. Participants in the enhanced condition received an additional weekly task to enhance group cohesion. Data were collected at baseline, week 8, and week 16.

Results:

Physical activity (P < .001, η2 = 0.35) and self-worth (P < .001, η2 = 0.39) increased significantly in both groups following the intervention, and introjected (P < .001, η2 = 0.30) and external motivation (P = .04, η2 = 0.10) decreased. Website use declined across the 8-week intervention in both groups (P < .001, η2 = 0.48); however, discussion board use was higher in the enhanced condition (P = .04, η2 = 0.21).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest web-based interventions can improve physical activity and self-worth among working mothers. Group dynamics strategies only minimally enhanced user engagement, and future studies are needed to optimize web-based intervention designs.

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R. Glenn Weaver, Michael W. Beets, Collin Webster and Jennifer Huberty

Background:

Frontline-staff are critical to achieving policies related to child physical activity and nutrition (PAaN) in out-of-school-time programs (OSTP). Recent policies call upon staff to demonstrate behaviors related to PAaN. Currently, no instrument exists to measure these behaviors. This study fills the gap between policy mandates and staff behaviors by describing the development of the System for Observing Staff Promotion of Activity and Nutrition (SOSPAN) in OSTP.

Methods:

SOSPAN items were aligned with existing OSTP policies. Reliability and validity data of SOSPAN were collected across 8 OSTP: 4 summer day camps and 4 afterschool programs. Validity of SOSPAN staff behaviors/management of PA was established using the percent of children active measured concurrently via direct observation.

Results:

A total of 6437 scans were performed. Interrater percent agreement ranged from 74%–99% across PAaN behaviors. Children’s activity was associated with staff facilitative behaviors/management, such as playing with the children and providing 2 or more activities for children to choose, while prohibitive behaviors/management, such as waiting in line were related to increased sedentary behavior. Staff nutrition behaviors were observed in less than 0.6% of scans.

Conclusion:

SOSPAN is a reliable and valid tool to assess staff behaviors/management of PAaN in OSTPs.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle and Greg Welk

Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess: an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) and providing recreational equipment (EQ).

Methods:

Ready for Recess had 4 intervention schools: 1) EQ+ST, 2) EQ, 3) ST, and 4) control. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed with accelerometers at the four schools in 257 3rd- to 6th-grade children. Random intercept models for overweight/obese (OWOB) and healthy weight (HW) for boys and girls separately, examined change in percentage of time spent in MVPA during recess across EQ+ST, EQ, and ST compared with the control from baseline to postintervention.

Results:

HW boys receiving EQ+ST increased MVPA by 19.4%, OWOB boys receiving ST increased MVPA by 4.5%, OWOB girls receiving EQ-ST increased MVPA by 6.0%, while HW girls receiving EQ decreased MVPA by 13.6% in comparison with the control.

Conclusions:

Ready for Recess represents a possible means to increase MVPA in OWOB girls/boys, populations least likely to meet MVPA recommendations. However, the effect of the intervention was not uniform across all subgroups.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Mary K. Dinger, Jennifer Huberty, Kim Miller and Myung-Ah Lee

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Carla L. Dellaserra, Noe C. Crespo, Michael Todd, Jennifer Huberty and Sonia Vega-López

Background: The association between acculturation and physical activity (PA) among Mexican American (MA) adults is not understood. This study assessed potential mediating factors that may explain these associations among 75 healthy MA adults [age: 37.5 (9.3) y; 65.3% female]. Methods: Secondary data analysis using hierarchical logistic regression examined whether perceived environmental barriers, social support, and intention to exercise potentially mediated relationships between acculturation level, and total and leisure-time moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Data were collected via questionnaire. Results: Most participants (67%) reported lower average household monthly incomes ($0–$3000), completed some college or obtained a college degree (64.4%), and were first generation immigrants (59%). Acculturation was associated with greater odds of engaging in total MVPA [odds ratio (OR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–2.4] and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1–1.2). Perceived environmental barriers were associated with greater odds of engaging in both total and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 4.3; 95% CI, 2.1–5.8 and OR = 5.5; 95% CI, 2.0–7.0, respectively), and social support was associated with greater odds for total MVPA (OR = 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1–6.4). Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence for mediating factors that may explain the relationship between acculturation level and PA among MA adults. Contradicting prior evidence, results suggest that PA engagement, despite perceived environmental barriers, is possible among MA adults having stronger social support.

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Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer Huberty, Matthew Buman, Steven Hooker, Michael Todd and Gert-Jan de Vreede

Background:

Commercially available mobile and Internet technologies present a promising opportunity to feasibly conduct ecological momentary assessment (EMA). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel EMA protocol administered on middle-aged women’s smartphones via text messaging and mobile Internet.

Methods:

Women (N = 9; mean age = 46.2 ± 8.2 y) received 35 text message prompts to a mobile survey assessing activity, self-worth, and self-efficacy over 14 days. Prompts were scheduled and surveys were administered using commercial, Internet-based programs. Prompting was tailored to each woman’s daily wake/sleep schedule. Women concurrently wore a wrist-worn accelerometer. Feasibility was assessed via survey completion, accelerometer wear, participant feedback, and researcher notes.

Results:

Of 315 prompted surveys, 287 responses were valid (91.1%). Average completion time was 1.52 ± 1.03 minutes. One participant’s activity data were excluded due to accelerometer malfunction, resulting in complete data from 8 participants (n = 252 [80.0%] valid observations). Women reported the survey was easily and quickly read/completed. However, most thought the accelerometer was inconvenient.

Conclusions:

High completion rates and perceived usability suggest capitalizing on widely available technology and tailoring prompting schedules may optimize EMA in middle-aged women. However, researchers may need to carefully select objective monitors to maintain data validity while limiting participant burden.