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Evaluation of Walk Across Texas! – a web-based community physical activity program

Authors
  • Faries, Mark D.1, 2
  • Lopez, Michael L.1
  • Faries, Ethan3
  • Keenan, Kristen2
  • Green, Stephen D.1
  • 1 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, TX, USA , College Station (United States)
  • 2 Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX, USA , College Station (United States)
  • 3 Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA , New Orleans (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Public Health
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Nov 28, 2019
Volume
19
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7918-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundIn response to the chronic disease burden, web- and community-based programs have the potential to address targeted behaviors, such as physical activity (PA), using a novel approach with large audiences. The purpose of this study was to preliminarily evaluate an established team centered, web-based community PA program in Texas.MethodsWalk Across Texas! (WAT!) is an eight-week community program delivered through a web-based platform to help people of various ages and abilities establish the habit of regular PA. Teams are challenged to walk a minimum of 832 miles. Changes in self-reported PA (miles/week; days/week) and leisure-time sitting (hours/day) were examined from 11,116 adult participants who participated in the program in 2016. Further analysis determined changes in physical activity (miles/week) between groups of pre-program assessment self-reported physical activity levels (0, 1–2, 3–4, or 5–7 days/week). Statistical analysis included paired-sample t-tests, repeated measures ANOVA and participant descriptors for PA change.ResultsOverall, mean changes in PA in all variables were statistically significant (p < .001), with the largest, clinically significant changes in submitted miles/week (mean increase of 4.89 ± 20.92). Self-reported PA increased 0.63 ± 2.89 days/week, while leisure-time sitting decreased less than 1 h per day (0.87 ± 1.86 h/day). All sub-groups (inactive, low active, active, high active at pre-program assessment) increased in self-reported miles per week, on average. Both the inactive and low-active groups experienced a statistically significant increase in mileage from week 1 to week 8 (5.48 miles/week or 12,330 steps /week, and 3.91 miles/week or 8797 steps /week, respectively).ConclusionsThe results provide initial support for the effectiveness of WAT! to initially increase and maintain moderate levels of PA of participants over 8-weeks, even in inactive or low-active participants. Descriptor variables were unable to differentiate between those who increased PA and those who did not. However; the results provide a canvas for future research questions regarding PA enhancement within a team-centered, web-based approach.

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