Mass-media campaigns such as Change4Life use messaging to promote physical activity guidelines. Raising knowledge of MVPA guidelines within UK adults is a main goal of current mass media campaigns aimed at increasing engagement in MVPA. As this may help to inform accurate perceptions of adults' own MVPA level it is an important area of investigation. Subjective norms, health status and normal walking intensity may also influence adult's awareness of their own MVPA behaviour. The aim of this study was to examine the hypothesis that greater knowledge of MVPA guidelines, supportive subjective norms, lower self-reported health status and intensity of typical walking pace are associated with accurate awareness of MVPA engagement within a sample of UK adults.
A cross-sectional study of UK adults was conducted. UK adults who subscribed to the National Academic Mailing List Service (JISCMail) were sent an invitation to complete an online survey. 1,724 UK adults completed the online survey which included items on minutes spent in MVPA, awareness of MVPA using constructs highlighted by the precaution adoption process model, subjective norms, knowledge of guidelines, health status and demographics.
The sample was 70% female, 57% aged under 45, 93% White and 69% in full-time employment. 62% reported their health to be above average, while 62% demonstrated accurate awareness of their own physical activity level, only 18% correctly reported the MVPA guidelines and 51% reported high subjective norms towards MVPA. Logistic regression analyses identified high subjective norms (OR = 1.84, CI: 1.29, 2.63, p = .001), average or below average health status (OR = .71, CI: .53 .97, p = .001), and a self-reported regular walking pace of moderate-to-vigorous (OR = 1.31, CI: 1.05, 1.63, p = .02) to be associated with accurate MVPA awareness. Knowledge of MVPA guidelines was not associated with MVPA awareness.
Mass media campaigns, such as Change4Life, inform the general public of MVPA guidelines. Campaign messages may be more influential targeting subjective norms instead of knowledge of guidelines, thereby raising awareness of personal MVPA behaviour amongst inactive adults and increasing motivation to engage in more MVPA.