Meta-analysis of internet-delivered interventions to increase physical activity levels

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Apr 30;9:52. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-52.

Abstract

Many internet-delivered physical activity behaviour change programs have been developed and evaluated. However, further evidence is required to ascertain the overall effectiveness of such interventions. The objective of the present review was to evaluate the effectiveness of internet-delivered interventions to increase physical activity, whilst also examining the effect of intervention moderators. A systematic search strategy identified relevant studies published in the English-language from Pubmed, Proquest, Scopus, PsychINFO, CINHAL, and Sport Discuss (January 1990 - June 2011). Eligible studies were required to include an internet-delivered intervention, target an adult population, measure and target physical activity as an outcome variable, and include a comparison group that did not receive internet-delivered materials. Studies were coded independently by two investigators. Overall effect sizes were combined based on the fixed effect model. Homogeneity and subsequent exploratory moderator analysis was undertaken. A total of 34 articles were identified for inclusion. The overall mean effect of internet-delivered interventions on physical activity was d = 0.14 (p = 0.00). Fixed-effect analysis revealed significant heterogeneity across studies (Q = 73.75; p = 0.00). Moderating variables such as larger sample size, screening for baseline physical activity levels and the inclusion of educational components significantly increased intervention effectiveness. Results of the meta-analysis support the delivery of internet-delivered interventions in producing positive changes in physical activity, however effect sizes were small. The ability of internet-delivered interventions to produce meaningful change in long-term physical activity remains unclear.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sports