Online Program

Harnessing the power of pink: Exploration of motivation and sustained physical activity surrounding a breast cancer 5k

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Clare Lenhart, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Kathleen Lynch, MPH(c), Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Noel Witzke, MPH, Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
background: Breast cancer races and other cause-focused community physical activity (PA) events, such as 5k races, are increasingly popular with some participants registering for the cause while others are drawn in for the competition or PA goals.   This study explores pre- and post-event PA changes based on motivational factors in order to assess the potential use of community-based 5ks to address physical activity disparities over time.

methods:  Validated self-report surveys (N=437), pedometer-recorded step counts (N=50) and a range of ecologically guided variables were collected one month pre-and one month post-event; PA level (high ≥ 3000 MET/wk; moderate <3000 ≥600 MET/wk; low <600 MET/wk) and related variables were compared between groups based on motivation for event entry using chi-square and odds ratio. 

results:  Most women (81.6%, N=324) endorsed “supporting the cause” a rationale for participation in the 5k while “the cause” was the primary motivation for 58% (N=211) participants. The proportion of highly active women declined significantly from pre- to-post-event among both study groups (34.1% vs 23.0%; x2=20.8, p<0.001 among cause-focused women; 19.4% vs 15.6%; x2=16.2, p<0.001 among all others) with larger declines noted among caused-focused participants. 

conclusion: Cause-focused, rather than PA-focused, motivations for event participation are powerful.  Both study groups experienced significant PA declines post-event, with a greater magnitude of decline noted among those endorsing cause-based motivation for participation.  Exploring ways to capitalize on women’s initial motivation and associated increase in PA to promote sustained gains in PA long term represents an untapped public health opportunity worthy of future study.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the public health potential surrounding existing community-based fitness events as motivators for long term increased physical activity among women. Differentiate between physical activity levels of breast cancer event participants based on motivations for participation and related personal, interpersonal and environmental factors.

Keyword(s): Cancer and Women’s Health, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently an Assistant Professor of Public Health and am PI of this grant, responsible for study design and analysis. I have previously overseen numerous physical activity and weight-related studies and presented findings at a range of professional meetings.
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.