Evaluation of physical activity web sites for use of behavior change theories

Ann Behav Med. Spring 2003;25(2):105-11. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2502_06.


Physical activity (PA) Web sites were assessed for their use of behavior change theories, including constructs of the health belief model, Transtheoretical Model, social cognitive theory, and the theory of reasoned action and planned behavior. An evaluation template for assessing PA Web sites was developed, and content validity and interrater reliability were demonstrated. Two independent raters evaluated 24 PA Web sites. Web sites varied widely in application of theory-based constructs, ranging from 5 to 48 on a 100-point scale. The most common intervention strategies were general information, social support, and realistic goal areas. Coverage of theory-based strategies was low, varying from 26% for social cognitive theory to 39% for health belief model. Overall, PA Web sites provided little assessment, feedback, or individually tailored assistance for users. They were unable to substantially tailor the on-line experience for users at different stages of change or different demographic characteristics.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Motor Activity
  • Program Evaluation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychological Theory