MovingU: A prospective cohort study to understand behavioral and environmental contexts influencing physical activity during transition into emerging adulthood.

In his study, Dr. Matthew Kwan examines the acute transition of physical activity (PA) of out of high school aged adolescents into early adulthood. The MovingU study works to gain a comprehensive understanding of the behavioural patterns and the socio-ecological factors related to the changes in PA during transition out of high school. The MovingU study was comprised of two phases where Phase one followed 120 students in their last year of high school through their first year out of high school. Phase two was a cross-sectional study involving 100 first-year university students. 

In both phases students were asked to wear a wrist worn accelerometer and to complete questionnaires measuring various psychological and socio-environmental variables four times throughout the transition period. Daily questionnaires were presented to students on their own Smartphones using the mEMA System.  Students in Phase two of the study were asked to wear the wrist worn device for five days and complete ecological momentary assessments using their smart phones at randomly selected times throughout the day to capture information regarding contextual and momentary correlates to PA.

Dr. Kwan’s study is the first to evaluate the social and environmental influences of PA behavior changes, including the use of intensive real-time data capture strategies during the transition out of high school. The study’s information will be critical in the development interventions aimed to prevent or attenuate drastic declines in physical activity during emerging adulthood.

Matthew Y.W. Kwan, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University