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‘Snacktivity™’ to increase physical activity: Time to try something different?

journal contribution
posted on 20.10.2021, 11:23 by James SandersJames Sanders, Stuart JH Biddle, Kajal GokalKajal Gokal, Lauren SherarLauren Sherar, Magdalena Skrybant, Helen M Parretti, Natalie Ives, Thomas Yates, Nanette Mutrie, Amanda DaleyAmanda Daley
Evidence demonstrates that participation in regular physical activity (PA) reduces the risk of morbidity and mortality. However, current PA guidelines are focused on weekly accumulation of 150 min of moderate intensity PA as a threshold. Although recent developments of this guidance have discussed the merits of short bouts of physical activity, guidance that sets large behavioural goals for PA has not been successful in supporting the public to become sufficiently physically active and a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to PA guidelines may not be optimal. A complementary ‘whole day’ approach to PA promotion (i.e. incorporating PA throughout the day) that could motivate the population to be more physically active, is a concept we have called ‘Snacktivity™’. The Snacktivity™ approach promotes small or ‘bite’ size bouts (e.g. 2–5 min) of PA accumulated throughout the whole day. Snacktivity™ is consistent with the small change approach which suggest that behaviour change and habit formation are best achieved through gradual building of task self-efficacy, celebrating small successes. Snacktivity™ also offers opportunities to “piggyback” on to existing behaviours/habits, using them as prompts for Snacktivity™. Moreover, small behaviour changes are easier to initiate and maintain than larger ones. A plethora of evidence supports the hypothesis that Snacktivity may be a more acceptable and effective way to help the public reach, or exceed current PA guidelines. This paper outlines the evidence to support the Snacktivity™ approach and the mechanisms by which it may increase population levels of physical activity. Future research directions for Snacktivity™ are also outlined.

Funding

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Preventive Medicine

Volume

153

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Elsevier

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Preventive Medicine and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106851.

Acceptance date

11/10/2021

Publication date

2021-10-15

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0091-7435

Language

en

Depositor

Dr James Sanders. Deposit date: 19 October 2021

Article number

106851