Current evidence indicates that interventions provided simultaneously at several levels across the Socio-Ecological Model are most likely to be successful in achieving increases in physical activity. The socioecological model of behavior change provides a framework for understanding the interactive effects of factors that determine behaviors, including physical activity. There are five nested levels of the socioecological model: individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy. The individual level encompasses characteristics of an individual that influence behavior change; the interpersonal level includes formal and informal social networks; the organizational level includes organizations and social institutions; the community level refers to relationships among organizations and the built environment; and the policy level includes local, state, and national laws and policies that can impact individual behavior.
Therefore, this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages innovative research to improve our understanding of how to increase and maintain health-enhancing physical activity using multi-level interventions. Applicants should use the Socio-Ecological Model as a framework and should test multi-level interventions targeting at least two levels of the model. Interventions to be tested should seek to increase participants' progression toward achieving the physical activity recommendation appropriate to the participants' health, abilities, and conditions. This FOA also seeks studies that address a wide range of population groups across the lifespan (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, children, older adults, persons with medical conditions or addictive disorders, and persons with disabilities). Investigators are encouraged to build on prior research to refine evidence-based physical activity interventions and to make use of innovative partnerships within and across sectors as needed to study the implementation and outcomes of the proposed intervention.
This FOA is meant to support developmental work in preparation for a full-scale efficacy study. The R21 phase will support formative assessments and preliminary feasibility studies of the multi-level intervention or intervention components. If the R21 phase milestones are met, the R33 phase will support expanded feasibility work and optimization of the multi-level intervention in preparation for a fully-powered efficacy study. For studies that are ready to implement, test, and evaluate scalable multi-level interventions, please see the companion Research Project Grant (R01) PAR-18-324.