Promoting participation in physical activity through Snacktivity: A qualitative mixed methods study

Matthew Krouwel, Sheila M. Greenfield, Anna Chalkley, James P. Sanders, Helen M. Parretti, Kajal Gokal, Kate Jolly, Magdalena Skrybant, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Colin Greaves, Ralph Maddison, Nanette Mutrie, Natalie Ives, Dale W. Esliger, Lauren Sherar, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Tom Yates, Emma Frew, Sarah Tearne, Amanda J. Daley

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BACKGROUND: Public health guidance acknowledges the benefits of physical activity of any duration. We have proposed a whole-day approach to promoting physical activity called Snacktivity™, which encourages frequent 2-5 minute 'activity snacks' of moderate-to-vigorous intensity. METHODS: Using repeated semi-structured interviews and a think aloud protocol, this study aimed to understand participants' experiences of integrating Snacktivity™ into daily life, to provide insights to refine the delivery of Snacktivity™ interventions. Physically inactive adults recruited via primary care and a community health service engaged with an intervention to encourage Snacktivity™ over three weeks, which included using a Fitbit and linked mobile phone app (SnackApp). Participants took part in semi-structured interviews on two occasions during the intervention, with a sub-group participating in a think aloud study. Three study data sets were generated and independently explored using inductive thematic analysis, with findings combined into a single set of themes. RESULTS: Eleven adults participated in the interview study who were interviewed twice (total interviews completed n = 21, 1 participant declined the second interview), of whom six completed the think aloud study (total voice recordings n = 103). Three main themes emerged from the combined data; lived experience of participating in Snacktivity™, motivation for Snacktivity™ and experiences with the Snacktivity™ technology. Participants undertook a variety of activity snacks, utilising their environment, which they believed improved their psychological wellbeing. Participants were enthusiastic about Snacktivity™, with some stating that activity snacks were more accessible than traditional exercise, but perceived they were often prevented from doing so in the presence of others. Participants were mostly enthusiastic about using the Snacktivity™ technology. CONCLUSION: Participants were able to incorporate Snacktivity™ into their lives, particularly at home, and found this approach acceptable. Participants felt they experienced health benefits from Snacktivity™ although barriers to participation were reported. This study offers insights for translating guidance into practice and supporting people to become more physically active.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0291040
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2023

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