Feasibility of reducing and breaking up university students' sedentary behaviour: pilot trial and process evaluation

Castro, Oscar and Vergeer, Ineke ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6560-9023 and Bennie, Jason ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8668-8998 and Biddle, Stuart J. H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7663-6895 (2021) Feasibility of reducing and breaking up university students' sedentary behaviour: pilot trial and process evaluation. Frontiers in Psychology, 12:661994.

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Background: Accumulating high levels of sedentary behaviour has been linked to poor health outcomes. This study examined the feasibility and preliminary, short-term effects of a theory-based intervention aimed at reducing total and prolonged sedentary behaviour in University students.

Design: A quasi-experimental (pre-post) pilot study. Methods: Nine ambulatory undergraduate students (Mean age = 22 ± 2.32) participated in a one-on-one session,including an educational component around the health effects of sedentary behaviour and three distinct activities (feedback, 'pros and cons' exercise, and suggested behaviour change strategies). In addition, automated daily text messages targeting sedentary behaviour were sent for 6 days (four messages per day at fixed intervals). The Behaviour Change Wheel framework guided the intervention design process. Outcomes were assessed over 6 days in pre- and post-intervention periods and included accelerometer-based (activPAL) and self-reported (Nightly-Week-U) total sedentary time, as well as accelerometer-based number of steps and prolonged sedentary time. Students completed a process evaluation interview upon completing the trial.

Results: From pre- to post-intervention, there was a significant reduction in accelerometer-based total and prolonged sedentary time during weekend days. In
addition, there was a significant increase in accelerometer-based standing time and stepping during weekend days. There were no statistically significant changes in accelerometer-based sedentary time, standing time or number of steps during weekdays. Process evaluation results indicated that the intervention and its assessment is feasible. Reductions in sedentary time were likely to be mediated by positive changes in the student’s reflective and automatic motivation.

Conclusions: Findings from this small, short-term intervention suggest that a single one-on-one session, together with automated text messages, may help University
students reduce sedentary behaviour and enhance movement during weekend days. Additional strategies to maximise the intervention effects are discussed (e.g., establishing a collaboration with University staff, introducing sit-to-stand desks, and/or facilitating social support). A randomised control trial assessing sedentary behaviour over a longer period is needed to adequately study the intervention’s effectiveness.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2021 Castro, Vergeer, Bennie and Biddle. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 23:08
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:42
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200401 Behaviour and health
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661994
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42138

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