Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.) 2017 07 06() 0 doi 10.1080/08964289.2017.1350134
To evaluate the efficacy of a health-promotion intervention in increasing self-reported physical activity among university students in Sub-Saharan Africa. Randomly selected second-year students at a university in South Africa were randomized to an intervention based on social cognitive theory: health-promotion, targeting physical activity and fruit, vegetable, and fat consumption; or HIV risk-reduction, targeting sexual-risk behaviors. Participants completed assessments via audio computer-assisted self-interviewing pre-intervention and 6 and 12 months post-intervention. 176 were randomized with 171 (97.2%) retained 12 months post-intervention. Generalized-estimating-equations analyses indicated that the health-promotion-intervention participants were more likely to meet physical-activity guidelines than were control participants, post-intervention, adjusting for pre-intervention physical activity (odds ratio [OR] = 3.35; 95% CI: 1.33-8.41). Health-promotion participants reported a greater number of days they did vigorous-intensity (risk ratio [RR] = 2.01; 95% CI: 1.43-2.83) and moderate-intensity (RR = 1.40; 95% CI: 1.01-1.95) aerobic activity, but not strength-building activity (RR = 1.37; 95% CI: 0.091-2.07). The intervention reduced self-reported servings of fried foods (mean difference = -0.31; 95% CI: -0.60, -0.02). The findings suggest that theory-based, contextually appropriate interventions may increase physical activity among university students in Sub-Saharan Africa.