Snacktivity™ to promote physical activity: a qualitative study

Natalie Tyldesley-Marshall, Sheila Greenfield, Helen Parretti, Kajal Gokal, Colin Greaves, Kate Jolly, Ralph Maddison, Amanda Daley, Snacktivity Study Team

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Background: Adults should achieve a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per week, but many people do not achieve this. Changes to international guidance have removed the requirement to complete physical activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes. Snacktivity is a novel and complementary approach that could motivate people to be physically active. It focuses on promoting shorter (2-5 minutes) and more frequent bouts, or ‘snacks’ of physical activity throughout the day. It is not known whether promoting physical activity in shorter bouts is acceptable to the public, or whether it likely to translate into health behaviour change.

Methods: As part of a larger research programme, this study explored the merits of using small bouts of physical activity to help the public become physically active (the Snacktivity™ programme). Thirty-one inactive adults used the approach for five days then participated in semi- structured interviews about their experiences. The data were analysed using the Framework approach.

Results: Whilst participants highlighted some potential barriers to implementation, they expressed the ease with which Snacktivity could be achieved, which gave them a new awareness of opportunities to do more physical activity throughout the day. Participants raised the importance of habit formation to achieve regular small bouts of physical activity.

Conclusions: Findings demonstrated that participants liked the Snacktivity concept and viewed it as a motivating approach. Guidance about physical activity must lead to advice that has the best chance of preserving and promoting health and Snacktivity has potential to meet this ambition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Not yet published as of 05/11/2021


  • Snacktivity™
  • interviews
  • physical activity
  • qualitative research
  • small bouts


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