Analysis of support, perceived barriers, nutrition, and physical activity
Alm, Mary E.
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The aim of this research was to evaluate the effects of incremental intervention support on nutrition and physical activity through the mediating influence of perceived barriers. Increased intervention support was expected to improve nutrition and physical activity by decreasing perceived barriers. The constructs measured in this study were perceived barriers to nutrition and physical activity, nutritional intake, and distance and duration walked. This study included 405 adults (BMI ≤ 25 kg/m2) participating in a one-year randomized clinical trial with three arms of incremental intervention support based on a cognitive behavioral approach to tailoring weight-related behavior goals: (1) workbook alone, (2) the addition of a computer program tailored to individual needs, and (3) the addition of both a computer program and staff consultation. Participants were overwhelmingly female (82.0%) and Caucasian (84.7%). A majority were highly educated with a college degree (56.0%) or graduate degree (32.6%). Statistical analysis included analysis of covariance and stepwise multiple regression. Results did not support a mediating influence of perceived barriers between incremental intervention support and nutrition and physical activity. However, findings indicated that increased intervention support significantly improved fiber intake (p<.01) and fat and oil servings (p<.02), but increased perceived barriers to nutrition across groups. Also, reducing the barrier of temptation decreased caloric and fat intake among females and the entire sample. Walking duration increased in males and the total sample by decreasing the barriers of poor health and self-consciousness, respectively. Thus, overcoming temptation improves caloric and fat intake among females, whereas addressing perceived poor health in males increases their physical activity level. Suggestions for further research include recruitment of a more diverse sample, measurement of additional constructs, and utilizing different statistical methods to analyze perceived barriers.