Acting on the National Physical Activity Guidelines

Topics: Obesity, Psychology, Self-efficacy Pages: 8 (2536 words) Published: May 28, 2005
Acting on the National Physical Activity Guidelines


The purpose of this study was to identify if presenting a sedentary individual with the Australian governments National Physical Activity Guidelines (NPAG) would improve their overall physical activity. There was a structured interview which was conducted at 2 week intervals. The interview assessed the subject current physical activity levels and their willingness to be able to incorporate physical activity into there daily lives while following the guidelines suggested. The NPAG guidelines were presented before each interview and explained to the subject. Additional surveys were conducted to evaluate the subject's anxiety levels and self-efficacy. Throughout the study we could benefit by seeing if presenting a sedentary individual with the NPAG would help improve levels of fitness and see if the governments' intervention would help the Australian population.


This study was conducted on a sedentary 48 year old Canadian woman. The details of the study were presented and an informed consent was gained from the participant. The interviews were conducted over the phone, since the subject is currently living in Canada. The first structured interview (see appendix 1) was conducted and then the physical activity guidelines were presented. Being unable to physically present the pamphlet to the subject the researcher had her access them via the internet (Australian Gouvernment, 1999). As the subject reviewed the guidelines the researcher explained them and ask the subject to choose 1 or more of the guidelines that she felt she could incorporate into her daily life. At this stage a general self-efficacy scale was administered. The survey consists of 10 simple questions aimed at finding if the subject had a high or low self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is described as being ones belief in their ability to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations (Albert Bandura, 1986). A third and final survey was administered and measured the subject's proactive attitude levels, meaning the subjects beliefs about their ability to carry out a course of action through personal motivation. This questionnaire consisted of 8 short questions where the subject had to answer by; 1) not true at all, 2) barely true, 3) moderately true or 4) exactly true. After conducting all the surveys the subject was instructed to print off the NPAG and put in on the fridge as a reminder of what the guidelines were and what she was supposed to be following for the next 2 weeks. After the 14 day period, the second structured interview was administered (see appendix). The subject was asked to be as honest as possible and not try and respond to this survey by memory. The self-efficacy and proactive attitude surveys were also re-administered. After collaboration of the results, it became increasingly evident that the subject did not adhere to the guidelines and had no hope in changing her behavior. Based on these findings a third questionnaire was conducted. This Social Physique Anxiety Questionnaire was administered, again over the phone. The survey was conducted to see if self-esteem, body image and social pressures were a factor for her none compliance.


The physical activity guidelines chosen by the subject were:

1) Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience 2) Be active every day in as many ways as you can
3) Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

The following tables present the data obtained from the 2 structured interviews.

Table 1: Total Time Spent in Inactive Recreation

Total hours Mon-Fri
Survey 1Total hours
Survey 2Total hours
Sat & Sun
Survey 1 Total hours
Sat & Sun
Survey 2

References: Albert Bandura, (1986). Self-efficacy
Retrived April 30th 2005
Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2003).AusStats : 4177.0 Participation in Sport and Physical Activities
Australian Gouvernment, (1999). An active way to better health,
Retrived March 15th 2005
Crawford, S., Erklund, R.C., (1994), ‘Social Physique anxiety, reasons for exercise, and
attitudes towards exercise settings ', Journal of Sport and exercise psychology, 16, 70-82.
Dzewaltowski, D. A., Noble, J. M., & Shaw, J. M. (1990). Physical activity
participation: Social cognitive theory versus the theories of reasoned action and
Hart, E.A., Leary, M.R., Rejeski, W.J., (1989), "The measurement of social physique
anxiety", Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 11, 94-104.
Ralf Schwarzer, & Matthias Jerusalem (1993), General Self-efficacy scale
Retrived March 14th 2005
Ralf Schwarzer (1999), Proactive Attitude Scale
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