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The Start2Bike program is effective in increasing health-enhancing physical activity: a controlled study.

Ooms, L., Veenhof, C., Bakker, D.H. de. The Start2Bike program is effective in increasing health-enhancing physical activity: a controlled study. BMC Public Health: 2017, 17(606)
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The sports club is seen as a new relevant setting to promote health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) among inactive population groups. Little is known about the effectiveness of strategies and activities implemented in the sports club setting on increasing HEPA levels. This study investigated the effects of Start2Bike, a six-week training program for inactive adults and adult novice cyclers, on HEPA levels of participants in the Netherlands.

To measure physical activity, the Short QUestionnaire to ASsess Health-enhancing physical activity was used (SQUASH). Start2Bike participants were measured at baseline, six weeks and six months. A matched control group was measured at baseline and six months. The main outcome measure was whether participants met the Dutch Norm for Health-enhancing Physical Activity (DNHPA: 30 min of moderate-intensity activity on five days a week); Fit-norm (20 min of vigorous-intensity activity on three days a week); and Combi-norm (meeting the DNHPA and/or Fit-norm). Other outcome measures included: total minutes of physical activity per week; and minutes of physical activity per week per domain and intensity category. Statistical analyses consisted of McNemar tests and paired t-tests (withingroup
changes); and multiple logistic and linear regression analyses (between-group changes).

In the Start2Bike group, compliance with Dutch physical activity norms increased significantly, both after six weeks and six months. Control group members did not alter their physical activity behavior. Between-group analyses showed that participants in the Start2Bike group were more likely to meet the Fit-norm at the six-month measurement compared to
the control group (odds ratio = 2.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1–5.8, p = 0.03). This was due to the Start2Bike participants spending on average 193 min/week more in vigorous-intensity activities (b = 193; 95% CI = 94–293, p < 0.001) and 130 min/week more in sports activities (b = 130; 95% CI = 82–178, p < 0.001) than control group members.

Start2Bike positively influences HEPA levels of participants by increasing participation in sport. A relatively short sporting program, offered by a sports club, can be used to encourage less active people to engage in and continue sport at HEPA levels. Overall, sport can contribute to health through increased HEPA and the sports club can serve as a setting to stimulate this. (aut. ref.)