Twelve month impact of the Just Walk It program on physical activity levels

Rachelle Foreman (2012). Twelve month impact of the Just Walk It program on physical activity levels MPhil Thesis, School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Rachelle Foreman
Thesis Title Twelve month impact of the Just Walk It program on physical activity levels
School, Centre or Institute School of Human Movement Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-05
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Professor Wendy Brown
Dr Jannique van Uffelen
Total pages 86
Total colour pages 9
Total black and white pages 77
Language eng
Subjects 111712 Health Promotion
111716 Preventive Medicine
111702 Aged Health Care
Abstract/Summary Abstract Walking is the preferred activity of the majority of adults and approximately 50% of people prefer to exercise in a group. However, substantial research demonstrates the difficulty of achieving sustained behaviour change in physical activity (PA), with 3- to 6-month retention rates in PA program intervention studies disappointingly low, at less than 50%. While community-based walking groups have been implemented worldwide, their impact on PA has generally not been evaluated. Just Walk It (JWI) is a group-based, community walking program that aims to facilitate participation in regular PA in a safe, supportive and social environment. The program model was developed by the Heart Foundation in 1994, with the South East Queensland pilot program implemented between 1995 and 1997. Pilot evaluation work in 2001 suggested that the JWI program model warranted more substantial research attention, particularly on the effectiveness of the program on PA behaviour. Therefore, this study examined walking and total PA minutes in adults when they joined the JWI program, and how these changed after 6 and 12 months of participation. Of the 1258 study registrants, 601 returned the 12 month survey; 423 of these confirmed they still participated. At baseline, 36 (8.5%) of these were inactive, 280 (66.2%) were insufficiently active to meet PA recommendations and 107 (25.3%) met PA recommendations. Among these groups, the largest 12 month increases in walking and total PA were in participants who were inactive [177 minutes, 95% CI 144–210, p<0.001 and 233 minutes, 95% CI 169-297; p<0.001, respectively] or insufficiently active [63 minutes, 95% CI 39–86; p<0.001 and 122 minutes, 95% CI 81-162, p<0.001, respectively]. Walking minutes increased significantly more for men (n=92) [100 minutes, 95% CI 51-150] than for women (n=331) [52 minutes, 95% CI 32-72, p=0.044], as did total PA minutes [158 minutes, 95% CI 61–247 for men versus 67 minutes for women, 95% CI 31-103, p=0.038]. Furthermore, compared with participants aged 18-44 (n=41) [-12 minutes, 95% CI -75-50] and 65+ (n=183) [57 minutes, 95% CI 27-87], walking increased significantly more in those aged 45-64 years (n=199) [83 minutes, 95% CI 56–110, p=0.018]. Subsequent to this research, the JWI program expanded from a state-wide program in Queensland to implementation in other States over a five year period. The Heart Foundation managed the JWI program in each jurisdiction and the overarching framework used was essentially the same as the state-wide model developed in Queensland. However, the specific implementation model was tailored by each state or territory to meet local needs, depending on funding, resources, and local partnerships. In 2004, the Heart Foundation decided to explore expanding the Just Walk It program to become a national walking group program. This decision was based on the successful implementation of the Just Walk It program in multiple states and territories, and on preliminary data analyses from this impact evaluation which indicated that the program had demonstrated success. The program transition to a national model and implementation of the three year pilot phase went relatively smoothly and as intended. Subsequent to the three year pilot phase, the Heart Foundation was successful in obtaining further funding over three years to June 2013 through the Healthy Communities Initiative under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health. More recently (2011), the Medibank Private Community Fund has committed three years of funding to further promote and expand the program through its members, employees and the broader community. Program growth is now increasing at a steady rate, with increases in the number of Area Coordinators, volunteer Walk Organisers, as well as participants. Pleasingly, the program achieved its contractual target of 15,500 participants by December 2011.
Keyword Walking
Physical activity
Community based intervention
Behaviour Change
walking group
Additional Notes Page numbers that should be printed in colour = 34, 36, 40, 41, 43, 64, 84-86.

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Created: Wed, 23 May 2012, 00:25:40 EST by Ms Rachelle Foreman on behalf of Library - Information Access Service