This project addresses the current epidemic in obesity and physical inactivity among adolescents in the United States. The goal of the research is to develop effective ways of encouraging adolescents to become and remain physically active. In particular, this project is concerned with identifying adolescents who are reluctant to exercise because they have a high sensitivity to unpleasant feelings while exercising at higher intensities. Once identified, these adolescents can be targeted with an intervention that is designed to teach them to exercise at anintensity level that will generate pleasant feelings and therefore make it more likely that they will seek out opportunities to be physically active.
The specific aims of this study are to: 1) evaluate the impact of a novel intervention delivered via school-based physical education (PE) on adolescents who have a high sensitivity to exercise-induced negative affect;2) determine whether adolescents'tendency to feel uncomfortable during exercise is a stable trait that persists even in the face of an intervention;and 3) compare and contrast three alternative methods of measuring adolescents'sensitivity to exercise-induced affect. Healthy middle-school students who do not participate in team or individual competitive sports will be recruited and assessed to determine their existing predisposition toward exercise (i.e., "reluctant exercisers" and "latent exercisers"). The assessment will be conducted using three methods that have been used to measure individuals'propensity to experience positive affect in the face of a stimulus: 1) a pencil-and-paper assessment that measures tendency to respond to a challenge with positive affect;2) electroencephalogram (EEG) to ascertain frontal cortical asymmetry;and 3) empirically assessed affective response to a standardized exercise task. Reluctant and latent exercisers will be assigned in equal numbers to one of two conditions. One condition will implement a PE-based intervention that differs from the traditional approach in that students will be instructed to exercise at an intensity that has been determined to elicit positive affect in that individual (based on baseline testing). In the other condition, students will be instructed to exercise at an intensity derived from standard formulas typically used in exercise prescriptions. It is hypothesized that the non- traditional approach will increase reluctant exercisers'enjoyment of PE and also their level of participation in physical activity outside of PE. The latter will be determined using portable monitors (accelerometers) worn at baseline, after the intervention, and again 1 year after the end of the intervention. This study is relevant to the prevention of type 2 diabetes in that it addresses the mechanisms of physical activity behavior change among adolescents. This developmental period is typically characterized by declining participation in physical activity, and thus represents a critical period for intervention. The results will increase understanding about why some adolescents remain active while others do not and will test a novel intervention that may be more effective among reluctant exercisers.

Public Health Relevance

This project is directly relevant to several of the primary causes of death and disability in the United States;specifically, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The goal of this project is to better understand the mechanisms of physical activity behavior change among adolescents. The study will identify reliable measures that may be used to identify adolescents at high risk for becoming sedentary and will test a novel school-based intervention for promoting physical activity among adolescents who are reluctant to be active.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DK088800-04
Application #
8636458
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Hunter, Christine
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of California Irvine
Department
Miscellaneous
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
City
Irvine
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92697