Improving participation in physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour are important public health endeavours. As physical activity, and to a certain extent sedentary behaviour, involves a series of voluntary behavioural choices for an individual, it is important to recognise the impact of motivation and ability in active living. Furthermore, to accurately assess patterns of participation in physical activity and sedentary behaviours, and examine the impact of physical activity interventions on participation and health outcomes, it is necessary to accurately measure participation in these behaviours. A socio-ecological framework identifies intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of behaviour as an important part of overall population behaviour and activity.

This unit will take a psychosocial approach to active living. Students will be encouraged to (1) compare and contrast psychosocial theories of health behaviour in relation to physical activity and sedentary behaviour. These theories will be evaluated in light of their relevance to a range of target populations and their ability to guide interventions for health promotion; (2) Evaluate methods to measure participation in physical activity and sedentary behaviour and the apply these measures in a variety of contexts and population groups; (3) Develop strategies to maximise the psychological health benefits of physical activity.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Appraise methods of measuring participation in physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour and prescribe them to a range of contexts and population groups  
  2. Conceptually map theories of health behaviour to physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour interventions;  
  3. Devise evidence based strategies that will facilitate individual adherence to physical activity (including reducing sedentary behaviour) and improve wellbeing from both physical and psychosocial perspectives;  
  4. Critically review theories of health behaviour, particularly as they apply to active living;  
  5. Evaluate and provide positive constructive feedback to peers.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Case Study Students will apply their knowledge of measurement of physical activity in to a scenario(s). Also includes peer feedback element (900 word equivalent) 20%
Essay Essay / Report - Application of various theoretical behaviour models of health to physical activity behavior and intervention (3000 words equivalent) 45%
Presentation Seminar Presentation - Recommendations for maximising intervention outcomes (2000 words equivalent) 35%

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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