FSD3212 Pilot Study on Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Behaviour of Vocational Students 2014

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  • Hankonen, Nelli (University of Helsinki. Department of Social Psychology)
  • Hynynen, Sini-Tuuli (University of Helsinki. Department of Social Psychology)
  • Laine, Hanna (University of Helsinki. Department of Social Psychology)
  • Annala, Mikko (University of Helsinki. Department of Social Psychology)


exercise (physical activity), lifestyle and health, motivation, physical activities, sports participation, students, vocational education institutions

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The pilot study investigated the effectiveness of the 'Let's Move It' programme, which aimed to increase physical activity (PA) and reduce sedentary behaviour (SB) among students in vocational schools in Finland. This dataset consists of the students' responses to several surveys conducted over the study period, the students' body composition measurements, accelerometer data on the students' physical activity, and variables created by the researchers based on original variables. 43 students in total participated in the pilot study. The students were divided into four groups, two of which participated in a variety of intervention measures. The other two groups formed the control group (did not participate in intervention measures). The research was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture (OKM/81/626/2014) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (201310238).

Variables in the data have been named as follows: variables beginning with the letter K are survey responses, letter H indicates accelerometer (Hookie) variables, letter T indicates body composition measurement (TANITA) variables, and letter R indicates variables created by the researchers where values have been reverse coded. Data were collected at four points during the study period: before the implementation of the 'Let's Move It' programme, halfway through the programme, right after the programme ended, and six months after the programme ended. The time point of the data collection is indicated by the numbers 1-4 following the underscore in the survey response variables and by the letters a-c and a mention in the variable label in the accelerometer and body composition measurement variables. Some variables are in Finnish and some in English.

The four online questionnaire surveys mainly repeat the same questions. Health status was surveyed with questions on health issues, stress, smoking, eating and sleeping. Other questions charted the amount and kind of physical activity, motivation and barriers for taking exercise, measures taken for enhancing the PA motivation, future PA intentions, perceived PA impact, sedentary behaviour (sitting) and motivation for reducing SB.

Accelerometer data on MVPA, sedentary time and breaks in sedentary time were collected through students wearing an accelerometer (3-axis Hookie AM 20) fixed to an elastic belt and placed on their hip for seven consecutive days during waking hours, except during shower and other water activities. There were three such seven-day periods: before the start of the programme, at the end of the programme and six months after the end of the programme. The students also filled in paper questionnaires daily (physical activity diaries) during those seven-day periods, specifying whether they were mainly at school, working or in practical training, or at home that day, whether they had any illnesses or injuries preventing physical activity or were engaged in water activities.

Body composition measurements were made with TANITA bioimpedance measurement device (Tanita scale measurements) at two time points: before the start of the programme and six months after the end of the programme. The measurements include weight, height, body fat, body fat mass, body fat-free mass, body mass index (BMI), basal metabolic rate, total body water, bone mass, impedance, visceral fat, metabolic age, muscle mass, ECW, ICW, as well as specific measurements for torso and right and left legs and arms.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, study year, field of study, whether worked during studies, and parents' education.

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