Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #452
CE Offered: BACB
Using Behavior Analytic Strategies to Reduce Sedentary Behavior, Increase Physical Activity, and Improve Dietary Behaviors
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Grand Suite 3, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Bobby Newman (Room to Grow)
Discussant: Bethany R. Raiff (Rowan University)
CE Instructor: Bobby Newman, Ph.D.

According to the CDC, obesity and related comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease cost the United States at least $147 billion dollars a year. Although diet and physical activity have been robustly demonstrated to improve health outcomes related to obesity, there is little empirical evidence of effective and publically available interventions. Interestingly, little behavior analytic research has been published on the topic, potentially due to the large scale level of change that must occur across a wide variety of settings and behaviors. As a means of addressing this dearth of research, the current symposium incorporates translational behavior analytic approaches to the study of diet and physical activity. The present studies evaluate behavior analytic strategies with typically developing adults to reduce sedentary behavior, increase physical activity, and improve dietary behaviors across a range of environments. Procedures include treatment packages with both antecedent and consequence based interventions, measurement of physical activity via wearable technology, and an emphasis on goal-directed behavior via goal setting and delay discounting. In conjunction, results suggest that behavior analytic intervention strategies can result in clinically relevant changes in dieting, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors, and warrant further exploration.

Keyword(s): Exercise, Fitness, Health

Getting Fit With the Science of Human Behaviour

LOUIS PAUL ALEXANDER BUSCH (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health)

Approximately one in four adults and one in ten children, comprising more than six million Canadians, are obese. The economic, social, and personal impact of our collective weight problem is immense, with an estimated $6 billion directed towards the treatment of obesity related illnesses annually. Medical research has demonstrated that sustained weight-loss and increased physical fitness can drastically improve outcomes for individuals at risk of obesity related health problems. Unfortunately there is little evidence to indicate the effectiveness of any diet or exercise program currently accessible to the public. A recent systematic review of weight management programs has suggested that a comprehensive behaviour management strategy is the missing component in most weight management programs. This talk will outline the authors weight management efforts, a hybrid of self-management and contingency contracting strategies supported by the use of personal health monitoring technology and will suggest that behaviour analytic strategies could be used to complement most diet or exercise programs. The extension of such strategies to clinical settings will be suggested as the logical next step with preliminary data on similar fitness related interventions on a forensic inpatient unit presented as an example.


Decreasing Rates of Delay Discounting With a Physical Exercise Intervention

MICHAEL SOFIS (The University of Kansas)

The current study evaluated if an extended couch to 5k program (IV) would increase physical activity thereby lowering participant rates of delay discounting (DV). Higher relative rates of discounting (i.e. a propensity to choose a smaller immediate reward over a larger delayed reward) have been associated with a variety of clinical issues such as substance abuse, pathological gambling, and obesity. Conversely, lower rates of discounting have been associated with exhibiting a higher frequency of healthy behaviors such as diet and physical exercise (Axon, Bradford, and Egen, 2009), however, there are no studies to our knowledge that have studied the effects of a physical exercise intervention on rates of delay discounting. In the current study, delay discounting was assessed three times a week and participants were instructed to wear Fitbit devices 24 hours a day. Using a concurrent multiple baseline design, three of the four participants demonstrated reduced rates of delay discounting in the treatment condition (i.e. exercise) and the same three participants maintained lower discounting rates than baseline at one month follow ups. The present study suggests that physical activity should be further explored as a method of reducing an individuals propensity to overvalue immediate rewards.


The Use of Goal-Setting and Self-Monitoring With Non-Contingent Reinforcement in Preparation for a Bodybuilding Competition

KELLY DULAK (Bancroft)

Various fitness-related behaviors have been examined previously using behavior analysis, but none have specifically studied behavior change in bodybuilders. This study examined the use of goal-setting and self-monitoring of calorie and macronutrient intake, along with non-contingent reinforcement, in preparation for a bodybuilding competition. Data on compliance to daily and weekly calorie and macronutrient goals were examined using a changing criterion design using the website My Fitness Pal. Once a week, the participant set a weekly goal average for macronutrient and calorie intake for the following 7 days. No external consequences were given for following or not following the scheduled intake. Non-contingent reinforcement consisted of one higher-calorie meal day per week, designated as refeed day. Along with weekly goals, a terminal goal was set for the participant to compete in a bodybuilding competition after the completion of the study. Results of the intervention demonstrated that self-monitoring was effective in increasing compliance to weekly goals for calorie intake. However, daily calorie intake data during the intervention continued to show some variability, albeit lower than in the baseline phase. In conclusion, self-monitoring of macronutrient and calorie intake may be an effective strategy to increase compliance to goals set, but further replication is needed.

Decreasing Bouts of Prolonged Sitting Among Office Workers
NICHOLAS GREEN (University of Florida), Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Health care costs of preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and obesity are higher than ever, and indicate the need for behavioral interventions. Research has shown that individuals who sit for extended periods are at higher risk for these diseases. Moreover, the risks associated with sitting have been found to be independent of an individual’s physical activity. That is, longer durations of sitting per day are associated with higher levels of unwanted health risks, regardless of how often an individual exercises. There is a need to address this issue in today’s inactive workplace. Research indicates that office workers sit for more than 70% of their workday. The current study assessed how successful antecedent and consequence-based interventions are at motivating compliance with the recommendation that office workers should take a break from prolonged sitting every 30-60 min. Results revealed the information alone was not as effective as a treatment package consisting of feedback and goal setting to reduce bouts of prolonged sitting.



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