Active Owls Research
The Active Owls program completed three research studies designed to assess and promote physical activity among members of the Temple University community. The three studies, led by Dr. Melissa A. Napolitano, a faculty member at Temple, and Dr. Sharon Hayes, focused broadly on cycling and health. Below you will find a description of each study and an overview of study results. If you have any additional questions, please contact Dr. Napolitano via her Health4U lab (email@example.com or 215-707-8650).
The first of these studies sought to better understand cycling perceptions and behaviors among Temple University community members (over 500 individuals started an online survey, 460 completed it). Overall, the results demonstrated a need to tailor cycling promotion campaigns on college campuses according to sex and University affiliation. Results also highlight the importance of targeting employees and students who live within a “bikeable” distance. This research was presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Washington, D.C. Highlights include:
- Despite similar rates of cycling behavior between sexes, women endorsed more negative views of cycling (e.g., “It is very frustrating sharing the road with cyclists”; p<.0001) and greater concern about cycling-related hygiene (i.e., showering at school/work, appearance after cycling); p<.0001).
- Men reported greater self-identification with cycling behaviors (p<.0001).
- Employees were more likely to endorse greater safety concern (p=.022), but also more pro-cycling attitudes (p=.006) than students.
- Students reported more concern about cycling-related hygiene (p=.002) and negative perceptions of cycling (p=.012) than employees.
- After removing individuals who lived more than 10 miles from campus, results for gender differences remained significant but difference between university affiliations did not.
The second study highlights Bike Temple’s partnership with Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW). Dr. Napolitano and her team conducted a series of focus groups with child participants in NBW’s Earn-a-Bike program at their Bike Salon location in North Philadelphia. All focus group recordings were transcribed and triple checked for accuracy by three independent research assistants, and procedures for qualitative analysis were finalized in June 2011. Data analysis is scheduled to conclude in November 2011. While the data have not been analyzed fully, some preliminary impressions are reported here:
- The majority the participants learned about the program while walking by the NBW location.
- About half entered the program for the primary reason of receiving a bike upon completion.
- All participants wished that the program was held every day during the week.
- All of the participants had heard of Temple University and many thought it would be a good idea if students were a part of the program to help them learn more about bikes.
- Nearly all participants agreed that they would not ride their bicycles to school for fear of parts being stolen.
- Follow-up data indicated that participants enjoyed the program and that they would recommend it to their friends.
- The participants reported learning bike safety rules and the basics regarding how to fix flat tires and chains, as well as confidence in helping others fix bicycles.
- The majority of participants planned to ride their bicycles every day.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr. Napolitano and her research team conducted the third Bike Temple-sponsored study, a small pilot study to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, usability and acceptability of a technology-based weight loss program. This program promoted healthy dietary and activity-related behaviors, and provided information about Bike Temple to participants. Overall, 52 Temple students (age range 18-29) participated, and results demonstrated preliminary efficacy and acceptability for an innovative weight loss program that leverages technology platforms (Facebook and text messaging) already integrated into the cultural life of college students. An oral abstract summarizing this work was presented at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society, Orlando, FL, and information about the study results also appeared in the USA Today: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/fitness-food/diet-nutrition/story/2011-10-09/Text-messages-help-with-weight-loss/50713886/1