Randomized trial of a neighborhood environment-focused physical activity website intervention

Prev Med. 2009 Feb;48(2):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.10.022. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


Objective: To evaluate the use of a local neighborhood environment-focused physical activity website and its effects on walking and overall physical activity in middle-aged adults.

Method: One-hundred and six (72% women) inactive adults aged 52+/-4.6 years were randomly allocated to receive access to a neighborhood environment-focused website, (Neighborhood group, n=52) or a motivational-information website (Comparison group n=54). Participants also received eleven emails over the 26 weeks. Study outcomes were objectively-monitored website use, and self-reported total walking (min/wk), total physical activity (min/wk) and neighborhood walking (min/wk) collected at baseline, 12 and 26 weeks. The study was conducted between August 2005 and February 2006 in Brisbane, Australia.

Results: Website use was significantly greater among Neighborhood participants (p=0.01). Statistically significant increases in walking and total physical activity were observed in both groups. There was also a statistically significant interaction effect for total physical activity, with Neighborhood group participants maintaining more of their initial increase in physical activity at week-26 (p<0.05). Further, those in the Neighborhood group who used the website more often reported significantly more walking along the community trail at week-26 (p=0.05) compared with those who did not.

Conclusions: A local neighborhood-environment focused physical activity website was more effective at engaging participants than a motivational-information website. Moreover, its use resulted in meaningful increases in physical activity relative to the comparison website.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electronic Mail
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Queensland
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Support*
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*