Results of the " Active by Choice Today" (ACT) Randomized Trial for Increasing Physical Activity in Low-Income and Minority Adolescents

Dawn K. Wilson, M. Lee Van Horn, Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, Ruth Saunders, Russell Pate, Hannah G. Lawman, Brent Hutto, Sarah Griffin, Nicole Zarrett, Cheryl L. Addy, Leslie Mansard, Gary Mixon, Porschia V. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Objective: This study reports the results of the " Active by Choice Today" (ACT) trial for increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in low-income and minority adolescents. Design: The ACT program was a randomized controlled school-based trial testing the efficacy of a motivational plus behavioral skills intervention on increasing MVPA in underserved adolescents. Twenty-four middle schools were matched on school size, percentage minorities, percentage free or reduce lunch, and urban or rural setting before randomization. A total of 1,563 6th grade students (mean age, 11.3 years, 73% African American, 71% free or reduced lunch, 55% female) participated in either a 17-week (over one academic year) intervention or comparison after-school program. Main Outcome Measure: The primary outcome measure was MVPA based on 7-day accelerometry estimates at 2-weeks postintervention and an intermediate outcome was MVPA at midintervention. Results: At midintervention students in the intervention condition engaged in 4.87 greater minutes of MVPA per day (95% CI: 1.18 to 8.57) than control students. Students in intervention schools engaged in 9.11 min (95% CI: 5.73 to 12.48) more of MVPA per day than those in control schools during the program time periods; indicating a 27 min per week increase in MVPA. No significant effect of the ACT intervention was found outside of school times or for MVPA at 2-weeks postintervention. Conclusions: Motivational and behavioral skills programs are effective at increasing MVPA in low-income and minority adolescents during program hours, but further research is needed to address home barriers to youth MVPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-471
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Interventions
  • Minorities
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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