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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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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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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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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael William Beets, Aaron Beighle and Thomas L. Mckenzie

Background:

Children’s achievement of recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in afterschool programs (ASP) is complex. It is unclear what elements of the ASP environment influence children’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of staff behaviors and ASP features (eg, organized activity, recreational equipment) to MVPA participation in youth attending ASPs.

Methods:

Data were collected in 12 ASPs in the Midwest. Staff behavior and child PA was measured using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth. The percentage of children’s MVPA was examined in relation to staff behaviors and ASP features.

Results:

Increases in MVPA were observed when staff were directly engaged in PA, verbally promoted MVPA, and when PA was organized and equipment was present. When 3 or more of these characteristics were present, the proportion of children engaged in MVPA increased by 25%−30%. Conversely, MVPA levels decreased when these characteristics were absent and when staff were attending to other ASP duties or were supervising.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence about the specific staff behaviors that may influence higher proportions of youth being active during ASP and implies specific skills that need to be incorporated into ASP staff training.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Diane Ehlers, Jason Coleman, Yong Gao and Steriani Elavsky

Background:

Ideal approaches to increasing long-term physical activity (PA) adherence in women remain unclear. This study used a longitudinal mixed-methods approach to 1) determine the effectiveness of an 8-month book club intervention for increasing PA participation and self-worth, and reducing barriers at 1-year follow-up; and 2) identify reasons why completers and noncompleters did or did not maintain PA.

Methods:

One year after the cessation of Women Bound to be Active (WBA), completers (participated in posttesting; n = 30) and noncompleters (did not participate in posttesting; n = 22) responded to questionnaires and interviews assessing their body mass index (BMI), current PA participation, barriers, and global self-worth.

Results:

Compared with noncompleters, completers reported decreases in BMI, higher motivation for PA, higher ratio of benefits to barriers, and more consistent PA. Both groups still reported barriers to PA, especially time; however, completers more often reported strategies for overcoming these barriers. Completers more directly discussed the impact of their improved self-worth on their PA participation.

Conclusions:

In the future, a greater focus on time management and self-regulation strategies should be emphasized in PA interventions, specifically those that focus on women. This may help to prevent program and long-term PA attrition.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice 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) or providing recreational equipment (EQ) separately, and the combination (EQ+ST) on physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Participants were children attending 1 of 12 elementary schools (grades 3rd–6th) included in the study. Separate analytical models were used to evaluate the effects of the intervention conditions on children’s accelerometry and direct observation derived PA measures.

Results:

Boys and girls were measured using accelerometry (n = 667). Boys in EQ+ST increased their MVPA by 14.1% while ST decreased their MVPA by –13.5%. Girls in ST decreased their MVPA by –11.4%. Neither boys nor girls in EQ increased their time spent in MVPA. A total of 523 (boys) and 559 (girls) observations were collected. For boys’ and girls’ sedentary and vigorous activity there were no significant main effects for treatment condition, time, or treatment condition-by-time effects.

Conclusions:

Environmental modifications are only as strong as the staff that implements them. Supervision, if not interactive, may be detrimental to PA participation, especially in girls. Research related to staff training for encouragement and promotion of PA coupled with appropriate use of equipment during recess is warranted.

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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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Jennifer L. Huberty, Jeni L. Matthews, Meynard Toledo, Lindsay Smith, Catherine L. Jarrett, Benjamin Duncan and Matthew P. Buman

Purpose: To estimate the energy expenditure (EE) of Vinyasa Flow and validate the Actigraph (AG) and GENEActiv (GA) for measuring EE in Vinyasa Flow. Methods: Participants (N = 22) were fitted to a mask attached to the Oxycon. An AG was placed on the left hip and a GA was placed on the non-dominant wrist. Participants were randomized to an initial resting activity before completing a 30-minute Vinyasa Flow video. AG data was scored using the Freedson VM3 (2011) and the Freedson Adult (1998) algorithms in the Actilife software platform. EE from GA were derived using cut points from a previous study. Date and time filters were added corresponding to the time stamps recorded by the tablet video files of each yoga session. Kcals and METs expended by participants were calculated using bodyweight measured during their visit. Data was analyzed using SPSS. A dependent samples t-test, an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), and mean absolute difference were used to determine agreement between variables. Results: According to the Oxycon, participation in Vinyasa Flow required an average EE of 3.2 ± 0.4 METs. The absolute agreement between the Oxycon, AG, or GA was poor (ICC < .20). The mean difference in METs for the AG was −2.1 ± 0.6 and GA was −1.4 ± 0.6 (all p < .01). Conclusion: According to the Oxycon, participation in Vinyasa Flow met the criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity. The AG and GA consistently underestimated EE. More research is needed to determine an accurate measurement for EE during yoga using a wearable device appropriate for free-living environments.