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Title: Promoting physical activity in adolescence : using a mixed-methods approach to deliver a peer-led school-based walking intervention in adolescent females
Author: Carlin, Angela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 0884
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2015
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The health benefits of regular participation in physical activity (PA) are well documented however many children and adolescents are failing to meet current PA recommendations. Consequently, the promotion of PA behaviours in this population is a key focus of public health. The promotion of walking has been a cornerstone of PA promotion in adults however less is understood about the potential of walking to promote PA in children and adolescents. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to assess the effectiveness of a peer-led school-based brisk walking programme at increasing levels of PA in adolescent females, using a mixed- methods approach. A systematic review of walking interventions in children and adolescents (n=12) identified the effectiveness of walking to promote PA in this population, with 9 studies, all delivered within educational settings, significantly increasing walking levels post intervention. Focus group discussions with adolescents (n=62) highlighted a number of components that may be incorporated within future PA interventions, including increased opportunities for PA within schools and incorporating rewards and incentives within interventions. A peer-led Walking In Schools intervention (the WISH study) was developed, providing adolescent females with the opportunity to participate in structured walking sessions throughout the school day, facilitated by older pupils trained as walk leaders. The WISH study significantly increased total school-time PA in adolescent females post ­intervention however these increases were not sustained when the intervention was withdrawn. Evaluation of the WISH study highlighted that walking was an acceptable form of PA for adolescent females, helping participants overcome a number of previously cited barriers to PA. However, a survey of post-primary schools (n=59) identified that the majority of schools do not currently offer walking as a form of extra-curricular PA. This thesis has highlighted the effectiveness of walking as a low-cost means of promoting PA in children and adolescents and the importance of actively involving young people in the development, delivery (peer-leaders) and evaluation of PA interventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available