A School-Based Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Physical Activity among Iranian High School Girls

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  • Background: Physical activity (PA) rates decline precipitously during the high school years and are consistently lower among adolescent girls than adolescent boys. Due to cultural barriers, this problem might be exacerbated in female Iranian adolescents. However, little intervention research has been conducted to try to increase PA participation rates with this population. Because PA interventions in schools have the potential to reach many children and adolescents, this study reports on PA intervention research conducted in all-female Iranian high schools. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the effects of two six-month tailored interventions on potential determinants of PA and PA behavior. Students (N = 161) were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: an intervention based on Pender's Health Promotion model (HP), an intervention based on an integration of the health promotion model and selected constructs from the Transtheoretical model (THP), and a control group (CON). Measures were administered prior to the intervention, at post-intervention and at a six-month follow-up. Results: Repeated measure ANOVAs showed a significant interaction between group and time for perceived benefits, self efficacy, interpersonal norms, social support, behavioral processes, and PA behavior, indicating that both intervention groups significantly improved across the 24-week intervention, whereas the control group did not. Participants in the THP group showed greater use of counter conditioning and stimulus control at post-intervention and at follow-up. While there were no significant differences in PA between the HP and CON groups at follow-up, a significant difference was still found between the THP and the CON group. Conclusion: This study provides the first evidence of the effectiveness of a PA intervention based on Pender's HP model combined with selected aspects of the TTM on potential determinants to increase PA among Iranian high school girls.

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    © 2008 Taymoori, Niknami, Berry, Lubans, and Ghofranipou; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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    • Taymoori, P., Niknami, S., Berry, T. R., Lubans, D., & Ghofranipou, F. (2008, April 3). A School-Based Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Physical Activity among Iranian High School Girls. International Journal for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5:18. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-5-18.