Background: Low levels of physical activity (PA) are associated with poor outcomes in people with COPD. Interventions to increase PA could improve outcomes.
Methods: We tested the efficacy of a novel Internet-mediated, pedometer-based exercise intervention. Veterans with COPD (N = 239) were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to the (1) intervention group (Omron HJ-720 ITC pedometer and Internet-mediated program) or (2) wait-list control group (pedometer). The primary outcome was health-related quality of life (HRQL), assessed by the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), at 4 months. We examined the SGRQ total score (SGRQ-TS) and three domain scores: Symptoms, Activities, and Impact. The secondary outcome was daily step counts. Linear regression models assessed the effect of intervention on outcomes.
Results: Participants had a mean age of 67 ± 9 years, and 94% were men. There was no significant between-group difference in mean 4-month SGRQ-TS (2.3 units, P = .14). Nevertheless, a significantly greater proportion of intervention participants than control subjects had at least a 4-unit improvement in SGRQ-TS, the minimum clinically important difference (53% vs 39%, respectively, P = .05). For domain scores, the intervention group had a lower (reflecting better HRQL) mean than the control group by 4.6 units for Symptoms (P = .046) and by 3.3 units for Impact (P = .049). There was no significant difference in Activities score between the two groups. Compared with the control subjects, intervention participants walked 779 more steps per day at 4 months (P = .005).
Conclusions: An Internet-mediated, pedometer-based walking program can improve domains of HRQL and daily step counts at 4 months in people with COPD.
Trial registry: Clinical Trials.gov; No.: NCT01102777; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.