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  • Author: Melbourne F. Hovell x
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Deborah F. Verfaillie, Jeanne F. Nichols, Ellen Turkel and Melbourne F. Hovell

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of resistance training alone or in combination with balance and gait training on balance and gait measures in seniors. Subjects, ranging in age from 65 to 83 years, were randomly assigned to a strength and balance/gait group (SB, n = 21 ) or a control group (S, n = 18) receiving strength and relaxation training. Both groups significantly increased their strength and gait speed over the 12-week training period, but step length remained unchanged. The results suggest that elders can make significant gains in muscular strength and walking speed through resistance training, and that adding balance and gait training to resistance training can significantly improve some balance and gait measures beyond improvements achieved from strength training alone. If replicated, these results set the stage for investigations of injury control benefits possible from balance training.

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Colin A. Armstrong, James F. Sallis, Melbourne F. Hovell and C. Richard Hofstetter

Components of the transtheoretical model of change were examined in a prospective study of the adoption of vigorous exercise in adults. Respondents to a random mail survey were resurveyed 2 years later. Those who reported no vigorous exercise at baseline were classified as either contemplators (n = 213) or precontemplators (n = 188). Contemplators had higher baseline self-efficacy scores than precontemplators (p < .001). In multivariate analyses, baseline stage of change was a significant predictor (p < .0005) of later adoption of vigorous exercise, even after controlling for differences in age, gender, and self-efficacy. During the first 6 months postbaseline, contemplators were nearly twice as likely as precontemplators to progress to the stage of action (46% vs. 24%), and four times more likely to progress to the stage of maintenance (25% vs. 6%). Use of the transtheoretical model in the study of exercise was supported in this prospective examination of exercise in a community sample.

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Melbourne F. Hovell, James F. Sallis, Bohdan Kolody and Thomas L. McKenzie

Students’ (n = 1,041) physical activity choices were assessed during the fourth and sixth grades for weekdays, weekends, and summer vacations. Activities were summarized for boys and girls by intensity, individual versus team, and for selected classes. Boys performed more team activities and reported more overall physical activity. Boys and girls decreased their participation in individual physical activities. Students decreased in total energy expended for all time periods. Decreasing activity level and selection of fewer individual activities make lifetime exercise unlikely. Results suggest that children become less active than recommended for health promotion before completing elementary school.

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Kent A. Lorenz, Hans van der Mars, Pamela Hodges Kulinna, Barbara E. Ainsworth and Melbourne F. Hovell


Increasing access and opportunity for physical activity (PA) in schools are effective; however, not everyone experiences the same effects. Prompting and reinforcement may encourage more frequent participation in recreational PA during the school day. The purpose of this study was to investigate a lunchtime PA intervention on whole school PA participation and whether behavioral support enhanced these effects.


A modified reversal design compared an environmental and an environmental plus behavioral support intervention on lunchtime PA participation versus baseline levels in a suburban junior high school in the western United States (N = 1452). PA and related contextual data were collected using systematic observation.


Significantly more girls and boys were observed in PA during the interventions compared with baseline phases (F 2,1173 = 13.52, P < .0001, η2 = .023; F 2,1173 = 20.14, P < .0001, η2 = .033, for girls and boys, respectively). There were no significant differences between the environmental phase and the environment plus behavioral support phase.


Providing access and opportunity significantly increased the number of girls and boys observed in PA during a lunchtime program, with no additive effects of behavioral support. Further research into providing the individual-level contingencies at an institutional level is needed.

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Beverly J. Tuzin, Mary M. Mulvihill, Kristin M. Kilbourn, Deborah A. Bertran, Michael Buono, Melbourne F. Hovell, Ivan R. Harwood and Michael J. Light

This study evaluated a home-based, parent-managed, behavioral program to increase routine physical activity of ten 7-to 14-year-old children with cystic fibrosis. In each of 3 replications of a multiple baseline design, physical activity increased only after the intervention was initiated. Eight children increased total activity 42.5% to 321 %, and 2 children exercised more consistently. Study II recorded further activity increases at 6-week follow-up. Study III validated reported activity with increases of 7% to 27% in VO2max, 8% and 31.6% in VEmax, and 14.2% and 20% in Wmax. Results suggest that a home-based contingency management program can increase physical activity among chronically ill children with cystic fibrosis. Future studies are needed to assess maintenance and possible health benefits.

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Ding Ding, James F. Sallis, Gregory J. Norman, Lawrence D. Frank, Brian E. Saelens, Jacqueline Kerr, Terry L. Conway, Kelli Cain, Melbourne F. Hovell, C. Richard Hofstetter and Abby C. King

Some attributes of neighborhood environments are associated with physical activity among older adults. This study examined whether the associations were moderated by driving status. Older adults from neighborhoods differing in walkability and income completed written surveys and wore accelerometers (N = 880, mean age = 75 years, 56% women). Neighborhood environments were measured by geographic information systems and validated questionnaires. Driving status was defined on the basis of a driver’s license, car ownership, and feeling comfortable to drive. Outcome variables included accelerometer-based physical activity and self-reported transport and leisure walking. Multilevel generalized linear regression was used. There was no significant Neighborhood Attribute × Driving Status interaction with objective physical activity or reported transport walking. For leisure walking, almost all environmental attributes were positive and significant among driving older adults but not among nondriving older adults (five significant interactions at p < .05). The findings suggest that driving status is likely to moderate the association between neighborhood environments and older adults’ leisure walking.