Tailored versus standard internet-delivered interventions to promote physical activity in older women

J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2005;28(1):28-33. doi: 10.1519/00139143-200504000-00005.


Purpose: While substantial evidence demonstrates physical activity is effective at reducing risk for cardiovascular and other diseases, the percentage of older women participating in regular activity is low. The Internet offers an alternative method for delivery of a primary prevention intervention. This preliminary study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of using the Internet to deliver behavior change interventions for promoting physical activity in women ages 50-69 years.

Methods: Thirty-one healthy women (56.1 +/- 4.9 years) were randomly assigned to either tailored or standard newsletter groups. Both groups received 3 Internet-delivered newsletters at baseline, 1 month, and 2 months. Behavioral markers and biomarkers were measured at baseline and postintervention. Post-testing occurred at 3 months (1 month after delivery of the third newsletter).

Results: Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed improvement in measures of flexibility and perceived barriers to exercise for both groups. For the standard group, improvement occurred in % body fat while VO2max declined. Women indicated the newsletters were helpful in influencing behavior change.

Conclusion: Internet-delivered newsletters appeared feasible and promising for favorably influencing perceptions about barriers to physical activity in these women. Selfreported physical activity did not increase although selected biomarkers did improve. Whether tailored or standard messaging was more effective was inconclusive.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*