An evaluation of a facilitator-led ‘Run & Walk’ health promotion initiative targeting inactive adult males. Supported by Men's Health Trust New Zealand & Unitec Institute of Technology
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Citation:McLeod, M. (2014) An evaluation of a facilitator-led 'Run & Walk' health promotion initiative targeting inactive adult males. Supported by Men’s Health Trust New Zealand & Unitec Institute of Technology. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2536
BACKGROUND: The field of men’s health in the past has typically focused on male-specific health problems including erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer. A growing body of evidence highlights a wider range of health conditions affecting the male population, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other cancers, and depressive disorders. Many of these health conditions are preventable with lifestyle changes, including regular physical activity. Health initiatives that have specifically targeted males and that have been comprehensively monitored are limited. This project is the first step in the development of a health initiative for inactive males that utilises a race series, the Unitec Run & Walk series and Adidas Auckland marathon, to improve health status and increase engagement in physical activity. OBJECTIVE The objectives of this study were to evaluate the stages and processes involved in the delivery of the initiative, as well as explore the attitudes and experiences of the men who registered. Through evaluation, recommendations may be used to inform the development of a health initiative that incorporates physical activity as the main intervention. METHODS: This study used an evaluative research method, with data sets comprising facilitator reflections and field notes, emails, and semi-structured interviews with participants. The attitudes and experiences of six participants who took part in most aspects of the initiative were explored through the interview process. Data sets were analysed using interpretive description. Recommendations and specific themes were generated from these data sets. RESULTS: The findings from this study indicate some promise for a physical activity initiative incorporating a run and walk race series, especially for younger to middle-aged adult men. Advertising and promotion was identified as critical to engaging males, and using strategies such as text to register may be useful. Any health information provided should be straightforward and kept brief. Ongoing communication with participants, especially text message and email, that offers regular support, advice and links to reputable health websites is important. Weekly training sessions and events were motivating and helped facilitate adherence by having a meaningful end goal. A health service, such as Osteopathy, attached to the initiative was also considered valuable. Three key themes emerged from the experiences of the men interviewed who took part in most aspects of the initiative, and these themes underpinned an overall sense of accountability towards the initiative: Simplicity, Goal setting, Support and Comradeship. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this type health promotion initiative appealed to previously inactive males by providing a structured, group approach to physical activity, including participation in a race series. Further development of this initiative is required through future action research cycles, especially in regards to advertising and promotion