Comparison of pre- and post-intervention levels of physical activity among sedentary Finnish mothers
Weldon T. Green and Elizaveta Novoradovskaya, 2012. Comparison of pre- and post-intervention levels of physical activity among sedentary Finnish mothers. Master’s Thesis in Sport and Department of Sport Sciences. University of Jyvaskyla. 39 p. The 1990’s marked a shift in the academic understanding of health-enhancing physical activity that was different from the exercise-based physical fitness paradigm that ruled public health policy at the time. Since then, lifestyle physical activity has been incorporated into physical activity recommendations worldwide and recognized medically and culturally for its impact on many chronic health conditions. Lifestyle physical activity interventions (LPAI) increase moderate-intensity physical activity and decrease sedentarism. Interventions are mostly developed for big population clusters, like elderly people, children and adolescents, and people with chronic deseases, thus there is a knowledge gap concerning other population groups. In 1998 Dunn, Anderson and Jakicic called for testing LPAI in specific populations, such as mothers with newborns, in order to improve interventions targeting those populations. This study examines if there is any change in physical activity and sedentary behavior for two groups of stay-at-home (n = 14) and working Finnish mothers (n = 8) after a one year, group based LPAI. The LPAI was conducted by LIKES Foundation of Sport and Health Sciences. The LPAI was a small-group discussion based intervention that covered themes such as time use, social relationships, goal-setting, and barriers to physical activity. The structure of the LPAI was a once-per-month session that began and ended with a round of discussion, with a break for walking and socializing in the middle. Participant preferences for intervention structure and topics was solicited monthly and incorporated into the design. All mothers in the study but one had returned to work by the post measurement; therefore transitions to work and to motherhood are both well represented in this group. Measures of physical activity were taken via Harmonized European Time Use Survey and ActiGraph GT3X and GT1M accelerometers. The time use surveys were coded using MET values, assigned according to Ainsworth’s (2000) compendium of physical activity. Non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare values within group and a Kruskal-Wallis test with a post hoc Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare values between location and number of children. The aim of this study was to describe the change in physical activity among the intervention groups after a one year LPAI. Overall there was no increase in physical activity detected. Differences in physical activity at baseline between intervention groups were revealed: working mothers were significantly less active than stay-at-home mothers prior to intervention. The fact that levels of physical activity did not decrease, as is typical during the life transitions to motherhood and returning to work, is promising for future interventions and research in LPAI. ...
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