Engagement

HEALTHY

These articles focused on interventions aimed at adolescents. Both interventions measured predictors of physical activity fidelity. The study by Corder et al. focused on the desires of adolescents to increase physical activity. The study by Hall et al. measured process evaluation from the HEALTHY physical education intervention. Both studies paid attention to the barriers, fidelity to intervention, implementer’s participation, interventionist interviews, and class observations. The studies measured several differing predictors of intervention fidelity including classification by sub-group, multiple intervention contexts, and physical activity companionship. In essence, both interventions are complimentary while providing a different strategy towards implementing physical activity interventions. This duality creates a larger picture of future implementation strategies while also competing with one another. The combined research symbolizes that implementing an intervention isn’t black or white, but rather creates a gray area between the two strategies. At least, that’s what two successful interventions on different ends of a spectrum would suggest.

The study by Hall et al. measured student engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity through delivery of structured lesson plans by PE teachers. Findings suggested that the intervention was successfully implemented; intervention schools were able to schedule 225 minutes of PE class time every 10 days. Important results included identification of barriers (teacher disengagement, large classes, student misbehavior), high engagement amongst students, and accomplishment of activity goals despite trends toward cutting physical education class time.

The study by Corder et al. targeted the views of adolescents regarding increased physical activity. Rather than a one size fits all intervention, research findings suggested that the views of adolescents were highly individual and personal. Physical activity participation differed by population subgroups, highlighting the potential of targeting interventions for specific groups such at those at risk for specific diseases. Variables that personalized the intervention included timing and location of physical activity, choice of activity type, population subgroup, and choice of instructor. This individualistic approach increased overall participation and fidelity.

Both interventions proved to be successful in what they sought out to accomplish. They also were both targeting similar populations and had similar objectives going into the study. Together a bigger picture is viewable that addresses the issue of physical activity and adolescents. A structured program with a pre-thought out exercise regimen proved to be successful in increasing engagement while a fluid concept program that caters to several different subtypes of adolescents increased activity participation. With the information gathered here, a structured program built for several scenarios taught by polished instructors would likely increase overall participation and engagement of adolescents. Following a cookie cutter approach or treating everyone as an individual both had success; combining the two programs and finding a middle ground is a viable option as well.

In order to create a successfully merged intervention, it appears that several factors must be accounted for. First, teachers should be the primary interventionist. Lack of engagement disrupted student activity, and lowered participation. Teachers should be given specific goals given by professionals with guidelines and strategies and even training on program design and implementation. However, it should be up to the teacher to be the main accountability in the intervention setting. For specific groups, teachers should be available for after-school events and help encourage parents to be involved in their children’s activities. Too individualized programs should be avoided because no matter how personal, everyone will not be satisfied. Options should be provided, even if the goals of each activity are the same. For example, a game of freeze tag to increase aerobic capacity and heart rate might be available alongside a game of basketball or soccer, since they’ll each have similar benefits. Giving variety and choice increases participation, engagement, and fidelity, and therefore are important. When designing future interventions, barriers are the important aspects to pay attention to. Eliminating the factors that stood out as barriers proved to increase engagement and participation. The next intervention incorporating similar elements should avoid recreating these barriers and plan ahead of time with how they will be dealt with if they arise.

In summary, each intervention took a different approach towards increasing involvement in physical activity regarding adolescents. Although they were dissimilar in structure, they do not necessarily discredit each other. Instead, they strengthen the argument that both are effective and that where one may have struggled another could excel. For example, the structured program displayed in the study by Hall et al. was characterized by increased engagement while the study by Corder et al. tossed out a one size fits all program and showed improved participation when focusing on the needs of individual groups. Even though those two programs sound contradicting, a structured program that resembles many of the same traits as both studies will likely be the best candidate. Similar to putting together a puzzle, one piece from each study that outshined the other is part of the new intervention. Eventually a full picture is created with elements of both studies. Ironically, the studies are more compatible than not and should be used to further research and implementation of future interventions.

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