College of Nursing Physical Activity Study Published in American Journal of Health Promotion

Friday, September 18, 2015

The outcome of a College of Nursing research study has been published online in the American Journal of Health Promotion. The Women’s Lifestyle Physical Activity Program, an interdisciplinary study led by nursing researcher JoEllen Wilbur PhD, APN, FAAN, addressed physical activity in underserved populations. As a nursing scientist, professor and member of the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Wilbur is recognized for advancing the science and practice regarding women’s physical activity.

Wilbur’s multi-year study, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, focused on women in predominately African-American communities. The study measured whether a combination of physical activity group interventions along with follow-up phone calls would increase the adoption of healthy living. The study found that group meetings alone were a powerful intervention for increasing physical activity and preventing weight gain in this community.

This community study provides additional scientific support to the recent surgeon general’s call to action to promote walking and walkable communities.

The paper, originally published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, offers the following implications for health promotion practitioners and researchers:

“What is already known on this topic?

  • Regular physical activity helps prevent weight gain as adults age. Group meetings are effective in increasing physical activity in African-American women, but physical activity adherence typically decreases after initial improvements. Telephone support in between group meetings may help prevent this decrease in physical activity.

What does this article add?

  • Delivering a physical activity intervention with six group meetings spaced over 48 weeks appeared to result in sustained adherence to physical activity in midlife African-American women. Further, most maintained a stable weight. Supplementary telephone support in between group meetings did not appear to increase the effectiveness of group meetings alone in this population.

What are the implications for health promotion practice and research?

  • Group meeting formats for increasing physical activity adherence and preventing weight gain in African-American women demonstrate efficacy when tested in community health centers and hospitals and may be ready for translation and implementation testing in clinical practice.”