Background: Midlife women are at an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated mortality. Those who have additional risk conditions such as obesity or hypertension report specific barriers to engaging in cardioprotective behaviors such as physical activity (PA). Considerable effort has been devoted to understanding PA determinants and designing interventions for midlife women, although with suboptimal success, as increasing PA could meaningfully attenuate CVD risk. An updated approach to understanding PA among midlife women could improve upon existing resources by focusing on novel psychosocial influences on PA in this population (ie, body satisfaction, social interactions, social comparisons, mood state) and within-person relations between these influences and PA in the natural environment. Objective: The overarching goal of Project WHADE (Women’s Health And Daily Experiences) is to use an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approach to capture ecologically valid relations between midlife women’s psychosocial experiences and PA as they engage in their normal daily activities. The primary aim of the study is to identify within-person psychosocial predictors of variability in PA (ie, experiences associated with higher vs lower PA for a given individual). Methods: Midlife women (aged 40-60 years) with one or more additional risk markers for CVD (eg, hypertension) will be recruited from primary care clinics and the general community (target n=100). Eligible women will complete an initial survey and a face-to-face baseline session before engaging in a 10-day EMA protocol. Psychosocial experiences will be assessed using a brief self-report via a smartphone 5 times per day, and PA will be assessed throughout waking hours using a research-grade monitor. Participants will return for a brief exit interview at the end of 10 days. Multilevel models that address the nested structure of EMA data will be used to evaluate the study aims. Results: Recruitment and enrollment are ongoing, and a total of 75 women have completed the protocol to date. Data collection is expected to be completed in Fall 2020. Conclusions: Project WHADE is designed to identify naturally occurring psychosocial experiences that predict short-term variability in midlife women’s PA. As such, the results of this study should advance the current understanding of PA among midlife women by providing further insight into within-person psychosocial influences on PA in this group. In the future, this information could help inform the design of interventions for this population.
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