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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #415
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Increasing Children’s Physical Activity
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Crystal Ballroom C, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Area: CBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Raymond G. Miltenberger, Ph.D.
Abstract: As the prevalence of overweight and obesity continues to increase in children, researchers are focusing on strategies to increase children’s physical activity to decrease weight and promote health. This symposium includes three papers evaluating interventions for increasing children’s physical activity. In the first paper, Heather Zerger describes an intervention implemented in an elementary school to increase physical activity during recess. The intervention, consisting of peer competition and feedback implemented in an ABAB design, increased the number of steps as measured by pedometers. In the second paper, Bryon Miller describes a pedometer-based intervention consisting of comparative feedback between two teams of students, with additional self-monitoring, goal setting, and reinforcement components, to increase physical activity during recess in an elementary school. Self-monitoring and feedback increased steps over feedback alone and the addition of rewards increased steps over goal setting, feedback, and self-monitoring. In the third paper, Matthew Eckard describes an intervention consisting of heart-rate feedback for increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity in children. The results showed that heart rate feedback increased physical activity to a greater extent than did instructions alone, but that rewards may also be necessary in some cases.
Keyword(s): children, feedback, physical activity, self-monitoring

Evaluating the Effects of Peer Competition on Physical Activity During School Recess

HEATHER ZERGER (University of South Florida), Bryon Miller (University of South Florida), Diego Valbuena (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

The purpose of the current study was evaluate the effects of peer competition and feedback during recess on childrens step counts. Participants were exposed to a comparative feedback intervention according to an ABAB reversal design. During baseline, participants wore a pedometer during the recess period of the school day. However, the device was sealed and therefore no feedback was available from the pedometer. Additionally, no performance feedback was made available to the participants. During intervention, participants with higher step counts, identified during baseline, were paired with participants with lower step counts. Once placed into teams, participants were allowed to look at their pedometers and share their step counts with their partners, as well as other teams. Results of the study demonstrated an overall increase in step count from baseline to intervention. These results suggest that childrens steps during recess can be maximized by being placed into small teams and receiving immediate feedback about their performance on the playground.


Evaluating Public Posting and Goal Setting to Increase Physical Activity During School Recess

BRYON MILLER (University of South Florida), Diego Valbuena (University of South Florida), Heather Zerger (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

Many schools have scaled back or completely removed their physical education programs. Therefore, promoting physical activity during times of the day when children have the opportunity to be physically active, such as recess, is increasingly important. We evaluated a pedometer-based intervention consisting of comparative feedback between two teams of students, with additional self-monitoring, goal setting, and reinforcement components, to increase the physical activity level in an elementary school classroom. We found that in the absence of self-monitoring, performance feedback alone did not increase activity levels above those observed during baseline. Additionally, higher levels of physical activity were observed when goal-setting was introduced, with the highest levels of activity observed when raffle tickets could be earned for exceeding a specified step-total goal. We will discuss classroom, team, and individual data, and their implications, in terms of responders and non-responders to the intervention.

Utilizing a Biofeedback Approach to Increase Physical Activity in Children
MATTHEW LELAND ECKARD (West Virginia University), Carole M. Van Camp (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Hana Kuwabara (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: Approaches to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity include recommendations that children engage in beneficial moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). In this study, we assessed the efficacy of a novel feedback procedure in increasing physical activity (PA) levels on various exercises at a local YMCA as indicated by changes in heart rate (HR). First, target HRs indicative of MVPA were identified for four individuals by having them alternatively walk, jog, and be still. Next, individual baseline HR levels were determined as participants used various exercise equipment at the YMCA. Prior to biofeedback training, participants were given a verbal instruction to exercise at a level similar to when they were jogging, which was insufficient in increasing HR to vigorous PA (VPA) levels for three of the four participants. Finally, biofeedback on HR was provided to two participants during exercise, which targeted the individualized VPA HR zone for each participant. Results showed that biofeedback increased HR to VPA levels for both participants, although, for one participant, tangible reinforcement for increased HR was necessary. These data suggest that providing feedback to children with respect to exercise behavior can help them reach beneficial levels of PA.



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