May 31, 2018

Congrats to Arielle Ocampo who recently presented her Capstone project and successfully completed the MPH degree. 

Title: Increasing Exercise Adherence in Adults with Arthritis After Participation in an Exercise Program

Committee Members: Dr. Shannon Jette (Advisor), Dr. Jennifer Roberts, Dr. Brit Saksvig

Abstract: Physical activity is known to prevent many chronic diseases and improve overall quality of life, but almost 80% Americans are not active enough to receive the numerous health benefits and reduce the risk of chronic disease (CDC, 2017). Arthritis impacts about 23% of adults in the United States and is associated with disability and limited mobility, which can decrease the overall quality of life (CDC, 2017). Regular physical activity is recommended to people with arthritis to help manage their condition and reduce pain, but almost half of the adult arthritis population is not physical active (Arthritis Foundation, 2017). With these statistics in mind, Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation began offering the Walk With Ease program to residents in 2017 with the intent of helping participants increase their physical activity behavior over the course of six weeks. Results from the Health and Wellness Division’s Walk With Ease program evaluation suggest participants are highly motivated to continue to be active, but previous research has shown that participants are likely to return to being inactive within 6 months after the completion of a program (Duncan & McAuley, 1993). The purpose of this project is to develop a follow-up exercise program for the Health & Wellness Division at Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation that builds on the Walk With Ease Program by encouraging participants to maintain their physical activity behaviors after the program ends.  The program will be developed based on results from the Health and Wellness Division’s program evaluation and a literature review that focuses on best practices from previous exercise interventions and which identifies behavioral theories and constructs to encourage exercise adherence beyond the end of the program.