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female adolescents, intervention, physical activity



  1. Robbins, Lorraine B.
  2. Gretebeck, Kimberlee A.
  3. Kazanis, Anamaria S.
  4. Pender, Nola J.


Background: Because physical inactivity poses serious health risks, interventions are urgently needed to reverse the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of adolescent girls.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of "Girls on the Move," an individually tailored computerized physical activity (PA) program plus nurse counseling intervention, in increasing PA.


Methods: A pretest-posttest control group design was used with 77 racially diverse sedentary girls in Grades 6, 7, and 8 from two middle schools. Each of the instructional grades was randomly assigned to either an intervention or control condition. After completing computerized questionnaires, each girl in the control group received a handout listing the PA recommendations. To encourage PA, each girl in the intervention group received computerized, individually tailored feedback messages based on her responses to the questionnaires, individual counseling from the school's pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), and telephone calls and mailings from a trained research assistant. At 12 weeks, girls in both groups responded to the questionnaires.


Results: No differences in self-reported PA emerged between the intervention and control groups at Weeks 1 (baseline) and 12 (postintervention). Repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant interaction between group and time for social support for PA, F(1, 69) = 5.73, p = .019, indicating that the intervention group had significantly greater social support across time than did the control group. From baseline to postintervention, social support increased for the intervention group but decreased for the control group.


Discussion: Reasons for the lack of significant differences between the groups on the PA measures were cited. Important information that could inform subsequent studies that test interventions to increase youth PA was acquired from conducting this study. Future efforts to increase PA participation might include this approach for enhancing social support for PA.