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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCHbest. NPM 8: Physical Activity

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Strategy. Self-Regulation Intervention

Approach. Use of self-regulation and behavioral interventions in or out-of-school to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during leisure or out-of-school time.

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Overview.  Initial research shows that self-regulation interventions, targeting behaviors of students in school to encourage physical activity outside of school or during leisure times may be effective in increasing physical activity levels, although further research is needed. An example of a study with positive outcome, used a three-phase approach including goal setting, performance and self-monitory, and self-regulation through 30 min/week educational sessions. 1

Evidence. Emerging. Initial research indicates some positive results for this strategy in increasing physical activity during leisure time, although further research is needed. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Adolescents.

Outcome. Increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during leisure time. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the “Intervention Results” for each study.

Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that aligns with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Use of self-regulation and behavioral interventions in or out-of-school to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during leisure or out-of-school time,” here are sample ESMs you can use to model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of children/adolescents who receive targeted behavioral interventions on how to set goals and reach or exceed physical activity guidelines outside of school.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of students who receive targeted behavioral interventions to increase physical activity during leisure/outside-of-school time.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of students/adolescents who report increased physical activity levels outside of school due to the self-regulation behavioral interventions.
  • Number of students/adolescents who reach 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day after participating in the self-regulation behavioral interventions.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of students/adolescents who meet and maintain physical activity recommendations after participating in the self-regulation behavioral interventions.
  • Percent of students who report sustained increases in physical activity levels outside of school and during leisure time after participating in the self-regulation behavioral interventions.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Matthews J, Moran AP, Hall AM. The feasibility of a theory-based self-regulation intervention in schools to increase older adolescents' leisure time physical activity behavior. AIMS Public Health. 2018;5(4):421.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.