Social Support, Diet, and Exercise in After-School Physical Activity Clubs

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Noel Kulik1, Agata Zalewska1, Nathan A. McCaughtry1, Alex C. Garn2, Kimberly Maljak1, Laurel L. Whalen1, Michele Kaseta1, Jeffrey Martin1 and Bo Shen1, (1)Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, (2)Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Background/Purpose After-school Physical Activity Clubs (PACs) can create (PA) opportunities for at-risk urban, low SES females and non-athletes vulnerable to physical inactivity and weight gain. Social support (SS) has been associated with diet/PA; however, little is known about the associations in this population. This study used social learning theory to understand the role of supportive behaviors.

Method PACs targeted inactive youth with one-hour sessions of healthy eating “chalk talks” and non-competitive exercise. Over seven months, PACs in six inner-city high schools averaged 44 sessions per club. Participants (N=222; 76% female) were 15.4 years and 87% African American. The Sallis SS Scales for Healthy Eating/Exercise assessed SS; the Eating Behavior Scale measured diet, and the PAQ-A measured PA. Data were collected pre/post(T1/T2).

Analysis/Results 58% of students were under/normal weight, while 42% were overweight/obese at T1. From T1 to T2, participants decreased weight percentile (t=2.71, df = 135, p=.008), while PA, diet and perceptions of SS did not significantly change. SS was associated with T2 fruit intake and higher PA. Session attendance was associated with absolute weight loss (r=-.198, p=.021) and T2 fruit intake (r = .160, p=.048), but not PA (r = .040, p=.620).

Conclusions PACs did not increase SS, but existing SS impacted diet and PA. Students who attended more sessions lost weight and increased fruit intake, suggesting PACs may be successful in excessive weight prevention in high-risk populations. Future studies should focus interventions on SS and explore the optimal type/amount of SS and its effect on PA.