Providence, RI -- The Internet can be an effective tool in helping inactive adults to get moving, a new study suggests. Researchers at The Miriam Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University found that web-based intervention programs aimed at changing the behavior of sedentary adults were just as effective as traditional, print-based programs.
The research was published in the May 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
"The findings are important because they provide evidence that different channels of delivery can provide equally effective results," says lead author Bess Marcus, PhD, with The Miriam Hospitals Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine and professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
"Non face-to-face methods, such as the mail and the Internet, can reduce potential barriers, such as lack of access to fitness facilities and time constraints," explains Marcus.
Marcus and her team decided to study the effectiveness of web-based channels because of their potential to be available to larger populations at minimal cost.
Prior studies have shown that direct mail programs geared at changing behavior in order to boost a persons physical activity can work, but come with built-in drawbacks, including the lack of immediate feedback (due to the delay in mailing), lack of immediate interactivity, and even the cost of postage.
Researchers studied 249 healthy, sedentary, adults from Rhode Island and Pittsburgh. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three physical activity interventions: tailored Internet, standard Internet and tailored print.
Those in the tailored Internet group were asked to log on to a website designed by the researchers that included educational materials, tips for adopting and maintaining physical activity, and goal setting functions. They completed daily physical activity lo
Contact: Megan Martin