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Open Access Study protocol

Systematic Development of the YouRAction program, a computer-tailored Physical Activity promotion intervention for Dutch adolescents, targeting personal motivations and environmental opportunities

Richard G Prins1*, Pepijn van Empelen1, Marielle A Beenackers1, Johannes Brug2 and Anke Oenema1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research and the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:474  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-474

Published: 11 August 2010

Abstract

Background

Increasing physical activity (PA) among adolescents is an important health promotion goal. PA has numerous positive health effects, but the majority of Dutch adolescents do not meet PA requirements. The present paper describes the systematic development of a theory-based computer-tailored intervention, YouRAction, which targets individual and environmental factors determining PA among adolescents.

Design

The intervention development was guided by the Intervention Mapping protocol, in order to define clear program objectives, theoretical methods and practical strategies, ensure systematic program planning and pilot-testing, and anticipate on implementation and evaluation. Two versions of YouRAction were developed: one that targets individual determinants and an extended version that also provides feedback on opportunities to be active in the neighbourhood. Key determinants that were targeted included: knowledge and awareness, attitudes, self-efficacy and subjective norms. The extended version also addressed perceived availability of neighbourhood PA facilities. Both versions aimed to increase levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA among adolescents. The intervention structure was based on self-regulation theory, comprising of five steps in the process of successful goal pursuit. Monitoring of PA behaviour and behavioural and normative feedback were used to increase awareness of PA behaviour; motivation was enhanced by targeting self-efficacy and attitudes, by means of various interactive strategies, such as web movies; the perceived environment was targeted by visualizing opportunities to be active in an interactive geographical map of the home environment; in the goal setting phase, the adolescents were guided in setting a goal and developing an action plan to achieve this goal; in the phase of active goal pursuit adolescents try to achieve their goal and in the evaluation phase the achievements are evaluated. Based on the results of the evaluation adolescents could revise their goal or choose another behaviour to focus on. The intervention is delivered in a classroom setting in three lessons. YouRAction will be evaluated in a cluster-randomized trial, with classes as unit of randomization. Evaluation will focus on PA outcomes, cognitive mediators/moderators and process measures.

Discussion

The planned development of YouRAction resulted in two computer-tailored interventions aimed at the promotion of PA in a Dutch secondary school setting.

Trial registration

NTR1923