Background: Regular physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Being active can reduce the risk for many chronic diseases and disabilities, including heart disease, stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and some cancers. Objective: To determine whether a theory-based physical activity curriculum addition to a school district’s existing physical activity curriculum (in health and PE classes) targeting goal-setting, or the Social Cognitive Theory construct of self-regulation, increases middle school students’ physical activity levels. Methods: Woodbridge Township School District, a large and diverse district located in central New Jersey, participated in this study. Four middle schools were randomly assigned to one of three treatment levels and one middle school was randomly assigned as a control group. Treatment schools implemented the study’s theory-based goal-setting curriculum supplement which included five lessons. The study used a mixed-methods repeated measures randomized design. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect data to evaluate the effectiveness of the physical activity intervention. The primary outcome variable was moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) which was determined by the number of blocks reported by students on the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and linear modeling. Results: Students in the three treatment groups (n=621) were similar in gender to the control group (n=334), but not for age and race/ethnicity. Aggregate baseline data revealed a mean of 4.48 30-minute blocks of MVPA. More than two-thirds of the students in the study reported being physically active for at least 60 minutes per day on five (5) or more days during the seven (7) days prior to the survey; higher than the state and national averages. There were no statistical differences between the treatment and control groups when analyzing the outcome variable. Conclusions: Schools can play a significant role in positively influencing physical activity levels of children and adolescents. The use of the theory-based goal-setting curriculum supplement and self-report measures proved to be an affordable and easy to implement method to promote physical activity despite the lack of significant differences. Additional research focusing on increasing the sample size and reducing attrition rates is warranted.
|Advisor:||Boyd, Neal Richard|
|School:||Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical education, Public health, Health education|
|Keywords:||Goal setting, Middle school students, Physical activity|
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