Utility of stages of change construct in the planning of physical activity interventions among playgroup mothers
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Background: The objective of this research was to assess the physical activity levels among a unique cohort of Western Australian (WA) mothers with young children who attend a WA Playgroup. Associated factors were also investigated, including self-efficacy for physical activity, social support for exercise, relevant socio-demographic correlates, as well as the stages of change construct within the Transtheoretical Model (TTM).Results: 421 women completed a questionnaire assessing physical activity behaviours. Of these, 368 participants completed the relevant physical activity evaluation items. 82.5% and 17.5% of the sample were classified as active and inactive, respectively. Associations between physical activity status and exercise stage of change were found. Additional associations were established for partner support and self-efficacy for physical activity. Conclusion: The majority of the sample was classified as active. Despite the high percentage of active participants, this study confirms the usefulness of the stages of change measure in that it can be utilised by health promotion practitioners to report physical activity behaviour and develop appropriate intervention strategies among a time poor and hard to reach population. Specifically the results are relevant to mothers in over 16,000 WA families who are involved with Playgroup WA programs. Interventions aimed at improving physical activity levels in mothers with young children should also consider the need to improve self-efficacy and social support.
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