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

James P. Sanders (Lead Author), Stuart J. H. Biddle, Kajal Gokal, Lauren B. Sherar, Magdalena Skrybant, Helen M. Parretti, Natalie Ives, Thomas Yates, Nanette Mutrie, Amanda J. Daley, Snacktivity Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106851
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume153
Early online date15 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Activity snacks
  • Behaviour change
  • Bout duration
  • Every minute counts
  • Physical activity promotion
  • Small bouts
  • Snacktivity

Cite this