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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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Whitney A. Welch, Scott J. Strath, Michael Brondino, Renee Walker and Ann M. Swartz

Background: Older adults spend 30% of their day in light-intensity physical activity (LPA). This study was designed to determine if increasing the proportion of time spent in LPA would affect glucose control. Methods: Older adults (N = 9) completed four 3-hour treatment conditions consisting of a seated control and 3 randomized conditions: (1) 20% time spent in continuous LPA, 80% seated; (2) 40% time spent in continuous LPA, 60% seated; and (3) 60% time spent in continuous LPA, 40% seated. Energy expenditure was measured continuously, and glucose was measured prior to mixed-meal ingestion and hourly thereafter. Glucose area under the curve was compared between conditions using Friedman test. Results: There was a significant difference in glucose area under the curve by time spent in LPA (P < .001); specifically, between the seated and 60% LPA (mean difference = 35.0 [24.6] mg/dL, P = .01), seated and 40% LPA (mean difference = 25.2 [11.8] mg/dL, P = .03), seated and 20% LPA (mean difference = 17.8 [22.5] mg/dL, P = .03), 20% LPA and 60% LPA (mean difference = 17.2 [22.5] mg/dL, P = .01), and 40% LPA and 60% LPA (mean difference = 9.8 [7.3] mg/dL, P = .01). Conclusion: These results provide experimental evidence to the importance LPA has on metabolic health. If older adults who already spend, on average, about 3 hours per day in LPA, further increase their LPA, they could see benefit to glucose control.