Telephone-delivered interventions for physical activity and dietary behavior change: an updated systematic review

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jan;42(1):81-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.08.025.


Context: Telephone-delivered interventions targeting physical activity and dietary change have potential for broad population reach and thus have a role to play in addressing increasing rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. The purpose of this systematic review is to update the evidence for their potential to inform translation, including effectiveness in promoting maintenance, reporting on implementation, and costs.

Evidence acquisition: A structured search of PubMed, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO (January 2006 to April 2010) was conducted. Included studies reported on physical activity and/or dietary change in adults, delivered at least 50% of intervention contacts by telephone, and included a control group (except in dissemination studies). Detailed information on study design, intervention features, and behavioral outcomes was extracted, tabulated, and summarized.

Evidence synthesis: Twenty-five studies (27 comparisons) were included: 16 for physical activity, two for diet, and seven for combined interventions. Twenty of 27 comparisons found evidence for initiation of behavior change (14 of 17 comparisons for physical activity; two of two for diet; four of eight for combined interventions). Ten of 25 studies evaluated post-intervention maintenance of change, with three reporting that maintenance was achieved for at least 50% of outcomes. Dissemination studies were rare (n=3), as were dose-response (n=2) and cost-effectiveness analyses (n=2).

Conclusions: Given the strength of evidence for telephone-delivered physical activity and dietary change interventions, greater emphasis on dissemination studies is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Motor Activity
  • Research Design
  • Telephone*