177802 Preliminary findings of a pilot program to increase physical activity in Zion National Park

Monday, October 27, 2008

Timothy K. Behrens, PhD , Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
David Chong, MS , Department of Health Promotion & Education, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Jock F. Whitworth , National Park Service, Springdale, UT
Ron Terry , National Park Service, Springdale, UT
Tom Haraden , National Park Service, Springdale, UT
INTRODUCTION: As part of the increasing focus on improving the health of Americans, the Healthier U.S. Initiative was launched to promote the use of public lands for health promotion activities. Zion National Park (ZNP) was one of seven sites recommended to participate in a pilot study to investigate the efficacy of health promoting programs in National Parks. This study provides preliminary results of a pilot program to increase physical activity in ZNP. METHODS: Participants in this quasi-experimental study were ZNP visitors between May and October 2007 who were exposed to a media campaign based on social cognitive theory constructs. The primary outcome was trail usage detected from trail monitors pre-, during, and post-intervention. Descriptive statistics were calculated for trail usage, and a repeated-measures ANOVA was used to investigate differences in trail use by time period. RESULTS: There was not a significant difference in trail usage at any time during the monitoring time frame by day (F = 1.45, df = 1832,1,464, p > 0.26) or by month (F = 3.05, df = 5,35, p > 0.12. When examined pre-, during, and post-intervention there was still no difference observed in trail use (F = 1.05, df = 2,5, p > 0.45). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the pilot program may not have been effective at changing the physical activity behavior of ZNP visitors. Further investigation is needed to determine appropriate mediators of physical activity behavior in recreational settings.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to articulate federal initiatives to increase physical activity on public lands. 2. Presenters will describe a physical activity intervention in Zion National Park 3. Participants will be able to describe reasons for successes/failures with this specific intervention.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My training is in physical activity and public health. I was the PI on this contract and lead authors of the evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.