Feasibility of Using Computer-Tailored and Internet-Based Interventions to Promote Physical Activity in Underserved Populations

Telemed J E Health. 2010 May;16(4):498-503. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2009.0135.

Abstract

Objective: Computer-tailored and Internet-based interventions to promote physical activity behavior have shown some promise, but only few have been tested among African Americans. We examined the feasibility and efficacy of three 1-year, multiple contact physical activity interventions (Tailored Internet, Tailored Print, Standard Internet) in a subsample of African American participants (n = 38) enrolled in a randomized controlled trial.

Materials and methods: Participants randomly assigned to Tailored Internet and Print programs received individually tailored computer expert system feedback delivered via Internet or print. Participants in the Standard Internet program received access to six currently available physical activity Web sites. Self-reported physical activity was assessed at baseline and 6 and 12 months with the 7-Day Physical Activity Recall.

Results: Across all participants, physical activity changed from 17.24 min/week (standard deviation [SD] = 20.72) at baseline to 139.44 min/week (SD = 99.20) at 6 months, to 104.26 min/week (SD = 129.14) at 12 months. According to available consumer satisfaction data (n = 30), 70% reported reading most or all of the physical activity information received by Internet or mail. Most participants described the Internet- and print-based physical activity programs as "somewhat" or "very" helpful (80%) and enjoyable (87%).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that computer-tailored and Internet-based interventions are able to produce long-term increases in physical activity and associated process variables among African American participants. Future studies with larger numbers of African American participants are needed to determine which of the programs (Tailored Print, Tailored Internet, Standard Internet) are more effective and what program modifications might be helpful in assisting this population in becoming more active.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Algorithms
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States