Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #344
CE Offered: BACB
Health Sports & Fitness SIG Symposium 1: Behavior Analytic Interventions for Healthy Lifestyles
Monday, May 26, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W179b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CBM/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Bobby Newman (Room to Grow)
Discussant: Stephen Ray Flora (Youngstown State University)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Klapatch, Ph.D.

Poor exercise and eating habits have resulted in a national health crisis in the United States. Obesity is currently considered an epidemic in the United States, with two-thirds of Americans being categorized as overweight and almost a third of the population meeting criteria for being obese. In response to this prevalence, interventions focusing on increasing healthy behaviors, such as exercise and making healthy food choices, have received increasing attention in the literature. However, the difficulty of implementing these interventions is often cited the reason for little generalization of these itnerventions to mainstream society. Two easy, cost-effective interventions will be presented, one utilizing Internet-based contingency management to increase walking behavior and one utilizing antecedent interventions to increase healthy food choice making. To evaluate these results in a broader context, we will discuss the historical effectiveness of behavior-analytic programs to increase exercise and other healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as discuss the reasons why behavior analytic interventions are currently not a standard choice of treatment for obesity.

Keyword(s): eating, exercise, healthy lifestyles, obesity
Improving College Student Health: Simple Interventions to Increase Healthy Food Selection Behavior
SHARLET D. RAFACZ (Savannah State University), Sandra Nerestant (Clark Atlanta University), Marquella Johnson (Savannah State University)
Abstract: Rates of obesity are continuing to increase and the field of behavior analysis is uniquely qualified to assist in addressing this issue. While a great deal of effort has been focused on improving dietary behaviors and exercise, little research has been done at exploring interventions with college students in particular. This demographic is of primary concern due to their limited finances to purchase healthy food and a lack of knowledge regarding selecting and preparing healthy meals. The current study evaluated using cost effective interventions to increase healthy food choices with college age students on a university campus. The first study compared a simple antecedent based prompt to the same prompt combined with a raffle in an ABACA design. The second study further evaluated the antecedent based prompt. The target behaviors for the first study included food selection behaviors while the second targeted drink selection behavior. Data indicated that healthy choice behavior may increase as a result of the antecedent based intervention, but that the nature and saliency of the prompts are particularly important. This presentation will further discuss the implications of these findings for college and university campuses, but also for other educational and non-educational food establishments.

The Effects of Internet-based Deposit Contracts on Increasing Physical Activity of Typically Developing Sedentary Adults

STEPHANIE GORBOLD (ABA of Illinois, LLC), Jennifer Klapatch (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Diana J. Walker (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

The present study examined the effects of Internet-based deposit contracts on increasing physical activity of typically developing sedentary adults. Three participants who were currently living sedentary lifestyles (i.e., walking less than 5,000 steps per day on average) entered into an Internet-based deposit contract and wore a Fitbit Zip device blinded for the duration of the study (i.e., they could not view the number of steps being recorded by the device). The experimental design of the study was an ABAB reversal design with a changing criterion design during the two-week intervention phases. Baseline conditions varied between one and two weeks and all participants received two weeks of intervention during each intervention phase. During each intervention phase, participants received incremental amounts of their deposit back for meeting or exceeding their walking criterion for reinforcement (which were calculated based on previous walking data). The results showed that an Internet-based deposit contract could effectively increase walking in sedentary adults even without the feedback that would typically be provided by a pedometer.




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