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Lifestyle Behavior Intervention Effect on Physical Activity in Low-Income Overweight or Obese Mothers of Young Children

Author(s): Mei-Wei Chang, Jolynn Pek, Duane T Wegener, Jessica Page Sherman

Background: Physical activity promotes health benefits. Yet, low-income overweight or obese mothers with young children have been significantly underrepresented in prior lifestyle intervention studies that include healthy eating and physical activity. The study aimed to evaluate an intervention effect on physical activity among these women participated in a community-based randomized controlled lifestyle behavior intervention study.

Methods: Participants (N = 612) were randomly assigned to a 16-week lifestyle behavior intervention or comparison group. All participants self-reported self-efficacy, emotional coping, social support, autonomous motivation, and leisure time physical activity. We applied a general linear mixed model to test the intervention effect on physical activity at the end of the intervention (T2, 338 participants) and at 3-month follow-up (T3, 311 participants).

Results: At T2, the intervention group reported a statistically significant higher score in self-efficacy (d = 0.38), emotional coping (d = 0.21), autonomous motivation (d = 0.26), and vigorous physical activity (d = 0.28) than the comparison group. However, there was no group difference in social support. At T3, the intervention group reported a statistically significant higher score in self-efficacy (d = 0.24) than the comparison group, but there were no group differences in other measures.

Conclusion: The 16-week lifestyle behavior intervention yielded short and long-term effects on self-efficacy but only short-term effects on emotional coping, autonomous motivation, and vigorous physical activity.

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