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Is walking netball an effective, acceptable and feasible method to increase physical activity and improve health in middle- to older age women?: A RE-AIM evaluation

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-15, 15:09 authored by Florence KinnafickFlorence Kinnafick, Andrew Brinkley, Stephen BaileyStephen Bailey, Emma Adams
Background: Physical activity is a modifiable risk factor for health and wellbeing, all-cause mortality and healthy aging. However, for middle- to older-age females less is known about the benefits of sports participation on these outcomes. Further, the acceptability and feasibility of setting-up, implementing and maintaining sports-based programmes for an aging population is an understudied area of inquiry. The current study used the RE-AIM framework to investigate a nationwide Walking Netball (WN) programme.
Methods: The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach incorporating a multiple-baseline study, quasi-experimental study, programme monitoring data and qualitative studies to evaluate the programme in Women’s Institutes (WI) in England. Data were analysed using multilevel growth modelling, mixed-design ANOVAs, multilevel regression, t-testing, and thematic analysis. Data were triangulated to address each dimension of the RE-AIM framework.
Findings: The programme reached 1.4% (n=3148) of the WI population across 82.0% of WI regions in England and attracted inactive members at risk of ill-health. WN contributed to adaptations in physical function, mental health and wellbeing, social isolation, quality of life and increased physical activity. The adoption of the programme was successful with 87.7% WN groups’ maintaining participation beyond the 20-session initial delivery phase. Adoption was effective because of its setup, peer-mentorship and long-term delivery; these factors likewise shaped implementation. Adapting and tailoring WN to the varying characteristics of participants within the WI and the facilities available, along with training delivery staff and providing resources are key programme components. The Walking Netball programme can be maintained through promotion within the local community, sustainable funding, inter-WI competitions, festivals and networks, multiple-hosts and continued host development.
Conclusions: WN was found to be an acceptable, feasible and effective intervention to increase physical activity and improve health in middle- to older- aged women. Future programmes may consider adapted styles of set-up and delivery. These include adapting to people, places and spaces through personalised support and providing a range of resources. Future designs may seek to understand how participation can contribute to healthy aging through longitudinal research beyond 12-months.
Study registration: The evaluation protocol was published in Open Science Framework in December 2018 prior to follow-up data collection being collected (https://osf.io/dcekz). Date of registration: 17 December 2018.


England Netball and Sport England as part of an independent evaluation of the Walking Netball programme



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity




BioMed Central


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© The authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by BioMed Central under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Florence Kinnafick. Deposit date: 14 October 2021

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