Environmental and behavioral influences of physical activity in junior high school students

Kent A. Lorenz, Hans Van Der Mars, Pamela Kulinna, Barbara Ainsworth, Melbourne F. Hovell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Increasing access and opportunity for physical activity (PA) in schools are effective; however, not everyone experiences the same effects. Prompting and reinforcement may encourage more frequent participation in recreational PA during the school day. The purpose of this study was to investigate a lunchtime PA intervention on whole school PA participation and whether behavioral support enhanced these effects. Methods: A modified reversal design compared an environmental and an environmental plus behavioral support intervention on lunchtime PA participation versus baseline levels in a suburban junior high school in the western United States (N = 1452). PA and related contextual data were collected using systematic observation. Results: Significantly more girls and boys were observed in PA during the interventions compared with baseline phases (F2,1173 = 13.52, P < .0001, η2 = .023; F2,1173 = 20.14, P < .0001, η2 = .033, for girls and boys, respectively). There were no significant differences between the environmental phase and the environment plus behavioral support phase. Conclusion: Providing access and opportunity significantly increased the number of girls and boys observed in PA during a lunchtime program, with no additive effects of behavioral support. Further research into providing the individual-level contingencies at an institutional level is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Behavioral science
  • Gender
  • Intervention study
  • Recreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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