How effective is community physical activity promotion in areas of deprivation for inactive adults? A pragmatic observational evaluation of the 'Active Herts' physical activity programme
Background There is a high prevalence of inactivity in UK adults and many suffer from comorbid conditions. These frequently co-exist in areas of higher socio-economic deprivation. There is a need to test the effectiveness, acceptability, and sustainability of physical activity programmes in this population. Method Active Herts recruited inactive adults (N=435) with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease and/or mild-to-moderate mental health conditions, and followed up at 3 and 6 months after baseline. In two areas programme-users received a behaviour change technique booklet, consultations, a booster phone call, motivational text messages, and signposting to 12 weeks of exercise classes (standard intervention). In another two areas programme-users also received 12 weeks of free tailored exercise classes, with optional exercise ‘buddies’ (enhanced intervention). Mixed ANOVAs analysed changes in physical activity, sporting participation, sitting (primary outcomes), mental wellbeing, health perception, and COM-B measures (secondary outcomes). Secondary analyses explored whether COM-B measures predicted moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at baseline, 3, and 6 months, and changes at 3 and 6 months using path analyses. Results At both timepoints, physical activity (3 months, η2 = .17; 6 months, η2 = .18), sporting participation (3 months, η2 = .22; 6 months, η2 = .17), sitting time (3 months, η2 = .08; 6 months, η2 = .06), and several secondary outcomes (e.g. wellbeing) improved regardless of group. COM-B related indicators explained MVPA performance better after 3 (R2=18%) and 6 (R2=15%) months than at baseline (R2=8%), but changes in MVPA were weakly predicted (3 months, R2=5%; 6 months, R2=7%). Self-monitoring was key in driving MVPA performance and change. Conclusions and Implications Active Herts improved activity levels at 3 and 6 months providing preliminary evidence that such interventions, delivered in real world settings, can change the behaviour and wellbeing of residents living in areas of deprivation.
RelationsSchool of Life and Medical Sciences
School of Health and Social Work