Fit Minded College Edition: Pilot test of a magazine-based discussion group on physical activity in female college freshmen
Objective: Fewer than 50% of female college freshmen meet physical activity (PA) guidelines. Innovative approaches that help college women increase their PA are warranted. The study purpose was to pilot test a magazine-based discussion group for improving PA, self-worth, and nutrition behaviors in freshmen college females. Method: Thirty-seven women (18-20 years) were randomized to intervention (n=17) and control (n=20) groups. The intervention group participated in an 8-week magazine-based discussion group adapted from a previously tested social cognitive theory based intervention, Fit Minded. Excerpts from a popular women's health magazine were discussed during weekly meetings incorporating PA, self-worth and nutrition education. The control group did not attend meetings, but received the magazines. Outcomes and feasibility measures included: self-reported PA, general self-worth, knowledge self-worth, self-efficacy, social support, and daily fruits, vegetables, junk food, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Results: Twelve participants from the intervention group attended more than 75% of meetings. A time effect was observed for PA (p=0.001) and family social support (p=0.002). Time x group effects were observed for PA (p=0.001), general self-worth (p=0.04), knowledge self-worth (p=0.03), and daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (p=0.03), with the intervention group reporting greater increases in PA, general self-worth and knowledge self-worth and greater decreases in daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Although not significant, the intervention group demonstrated positive trends in self-efficacy, friend social support and fruit and veggie consumption as compared to the control group. Conclusion: A magazine-based discussion group may provide a promising platform to improve PA, self-worth and nutrition behaviors in female college freshmen.