Abstract MP002: Active Exercise Buddies Help Women With Young Children Improve Physical Activity
Introduction: Women with young children are vulnerable to physical inactivity due to physical, emotional, or social changes resulting from pregnancy and child rearing. Family/friend social support is considered as an enabler to physical activity (PA) among physically inactive women with young children. However, little is known about how to utilize family/friend social support in this population.
Purpose: The purpose of this pilot randomized controlled trial was to examine the potential efficacy of a 12-week buddy PA intervention in increasing PA among women with young children.
Methods: Flyers posted in public places, advertisements via a local newspaper and campus shuttle buses as well as online postings through local parents’ groups were used for recruitment between January 2015 and March 2016. Out of 108 women who contacted the research team via telephone or email, 79 met the eligibility criteria. The inclusion criteria were 1) 18-44 years of age; 2) having at least one child aged less than 5 years; 3) having at least one family member or friend who can support PA and reside in the community with the participant; 4) 25 kg/m2 ≤ body mass index < 45 kg/m2; and 5) intent to increase PA. After run-in, 49 women were randomized into one of the two groups (the buddy group and the control group). Women assigned to the buddy group designated an exercise buddy and received a face-to-face session along with their buddies. Both participant as well as buddy received an accelerometer and installed its mobile app on their mobile phones. The primary outcome was the mean number of steps per day for the prior week measured by accelerometer. The effect of the intervention versus control condition on the primary outcome was examined in an intent-to-treat approach. We also did per-protocol-analyses to compare three groups, dividing the buddy groups into 2 groups depending changes in PA among buddies (active buddy and inactive buddy) along with the control group.
Results: 47 women completed the study. There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups in steps at baseline (p = 0.46) as well as in changes in mean steps per day (p = 0.56). When the three groups (active buddy, inactive buddy, and control groups) were compared, there was no significant difference among groups in steps at baseline (p = 0.61), but overall changes in mean steps per day during 12 weeks were significantly different among groups (p = 0.018). The active buddy group (p=0.005) and the control group (p=0.023) showed significantly higher step changes than the inactive buddy group (1779 and 1272 vs. 76).
Conclusions: The study findings indicate that having an inactive buddy for exercise would not help women to increase their PA and could be worse than having no buddy. Women may need to join a social network of physically active individuals and emulate other physically active people.
Author Disclosures: J. Choi: B. Research Grant; Significant; Acknowledgement: American Heart Association National Mentored Clinical & Population Research Award (A123858).
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate (California, Nevada & Utah).
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.