A comparison of Web and print media for physical activity promotion among adolescent girls

J Adolesc Health. 2006 Jul;39(1):96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.11.002.


Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of a Web-based physical activity (PA) intervention with identical content delivered in a printed workbook among a sample of adolescent girls.

Methods: Participants consisted of 319 girls with home Internet access enrolled in four middle schools within one school district. A randomized trial design was used to compare changes in PA self-efficacy and intentions after two weeks of exposure to either a Web- or print-based intervention delivered to their home. Self-reported physical activity was assessed as a secondary outcome. Analysis of covariance was conducted to determine changes between the intervention groups while controlling for baseline levels of PA constructs.

Results: Both Web and print groups had significant changes in physical activity self-efficacy (Web: t[155] = 2.58, p = .01; print: t[156] = 3.11, p = .002) and intentions (Web: t[157] = 2.27, p = .02; print: t[159] = 6.32, p < or = .001). The print group demonstrated significantly greater increases in intentions compared with the Web group (F [1,315] = 13.53, p < or = .001). Self-reported physical activity increased significantly in the print group only (t[159] = 3.21, p = .002).

Conclusions: It cannot be assumed that new media technologies are superior to traditional media such as print for health communication to adolescents. These results suggest that a printed workbook was more effective than an identical website for increasing physical activity intentions and behavior among a sample of middle school girls.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Child
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Mass Media*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Treatment Outcome