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Open Access Research article

Who will increase their physical activity? Predictors of change in objectively measured physical activity over 12 months in the ProActive cohort

Rebecca K Simmons1, Esther MF van Sluijs1, Wendy Hardeman2, Stephen Sutton2, Simon J Griffin1* and the ProActive project team

Author Affiliations

1 MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Box 285, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK

2 General Practice & Primary Care Research Unit, Institute of Public Health, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge, CB2 0SR, UK

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:226  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-226

Published: 30 April 2010

Abstract

Background

The aim was to identify predictors of change in objectively measured physical activity over 12 months in the ProActive cohort to improve understanding of factors influencing change in physical activity.

Methods

ProActive is a physical activity promotion trial that took place in Eastern England (1999-2004). 365 offspring of people with type 2 diabetes underwent measurement of physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) using heart rate monitoring, fitness, and anthropometric and biochemical status at baseline and 1 year (n = 321). Linear regression was used to quantify the associations between baseline demographic, clinical, psychosocial and behavioural variables and change in PAEE over 12 months. This study is registered as ISRCTN61323766.

Results

ProActive participants significantly increased their PAEE by 0.6 kj/min (SD 4.2, p = 0.006) over one year, the equivalent of around 20 minutes brisk walking/day. Male sex and higher fitness at baseline predicted increase in PAEE. No significant associations were found for any other variables. Very few baseline demographic, clinical, psychosocial and behavioural predictors were associated with change in objectively measured physical activity.

Conclusions

Traditional baseline determinants of self-reported physical activity targeted by behavioural interventions may be relatively weak predictors of change in objectively measured physical activity. Further research is needed to improve our understanding of factors influencing change in physical activity to inform the development and targeting of interventions.