Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

First Advisor

Julie Gast

Abstract

Purpose: To examine the response of middle aged adults (age 39-64) to feedback from wearable activity sensors in a 6 month community based intervention. Participants (N = 139) were a convenient sample randomly assigned into the treatment (n = 100) or control (n = 39) group. Methods: All participants were surveyed about their physical activity levels during the pre, mid, and post intervention surveys. The treatment group participants were given a Nike+ FuelBand and asked to report minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity [PA] and FuelPoints daily. Results: There was a significant change in moderate and vigorous PA levels from the beginning to the end of the intervention by all (treatment and control) participants when measured with self-report surveys. It was found that novice exercisers (performing weekly) significantly increased their levels of moderate PA in a non-linear way (p = .048) when measured with pre, mid, and post intervention self-report surveys. Contradicting results were found when looking at the treatment group’s FuelBand data (FuelPoints). FuelPoints did not significantly differ across the intervention (p = .084). FuelPoints also did not differ by gender (p = .857), age tertiles (p = .459), or exercise level (novice moderate (p = .573) or novice vigorous (p = .184)). Conclusion: Participants in a community intervention did increase their moderate and vigorous PA. This increase in moderate and vigorous PA across the 6 month intervention was seen in the control group as well as the treatment group thus it was not in response to the use of a wearable PA sensor. The current technology limitations of wearable PA sensors when used in community interventions with middle-aged adults make it difficult to obtain accurate and objective measures of PA data. Until the technology is more accurate, community based PA studies should not rely upon wearable PA sensors alone for PA data collection or for motivation of their participants to perform more PA.

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