The effects of a fitness assessment and exercise consultation on physical activity intention and behaviour in a socially and economically deprived community : an application of the transtheoretical model of behaviour
Physical activity (PA) (30 minutes of accumulated moderate intensity PA on most days) can protect against and enhance physical and mental ill-health. Despite this, 60% to 75% of the Scottish population do not meet the current PA recommendations. Those living in socially and economically deprived communities are particularly susceptible to chronic diseases related to sedentary lifestyles. Three studies were conducted as part of this research. Study One - Aim: To develop a reliable, valid, self-assessing, British, 7-day recall measure of occupational and leisure PA. Study Two - Aim: To pilot the procedures necessary to conduct the main study. Study Three - Aim: To assess the effects of a fitness assessment compared to a control intervention and an exercise consultation compared to a control intervention on PA, SOC and POC over 1 year in a community population high in social and economic deprivation. Methodology Three thousand residents of 2 socially and economically deprived communities were invited to volunteer for a fitness assessment or exercise consultation. Fitness assessment volunteers were randomly assigned into an experimental or control group (receiving PA information only) as were exercise consultation volunteers. This produced 4 groups; fitness assessment experimental (FAE, N=112) and control (FAC, N=113) and exercise consultation experimental (ECE, N=73) and control (ECC, N=72). Results For those not regularly active (contemplators and preparers), leisure PA initially increased and was maintained to 6 months before falling at 1 year post test. There were few group differences. Only the ECE group reported significantly higher levels of leisure PA at 1 year compared to baseline. SOC mirrored PA, with baseline contemplators and preparers mostly progressing into action, maintaining this to 6 months before regressing back to baseline SOC at 1 year for those not regularly active at baseline. Exercise consultations offered the best chance of study adherence and long-term SOC maintenance.