A comparison of internet and print-based physical activity interventions

Bess H. Marcus, Beth A. Lewis, David M. Williams, Shira Dunsiger, John M. Jakicic, Jessica A. Whiteley, Anna E. Albrecht, Melissa A. Napolitano, Beth C. Bock, Deborah F. Tate, Christopher N. Sciamanna, Alfred F. Parisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Background: Physical activity interventions tailored to individual characteristics and delivered via print produce greater increases in activity compared with nontailored interventions and controls. Using the Internet to deliver a tailored physical activity intervention offers an alternative to print that might be available to larger populations at a lower cost. Methods: Participants (N=249 adults; mean [SD] age, 44.5 [9.3] years; and mean [SD] body mass index [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared], 29.4 [6.1]) were randomized to 1 of 3 physical activity interventions: (1) motivationally tailored Internet (tailored Internet, n=81), (2) motivationally tailored print (tailored print, n=86); and (3) 6 researcher-selected Websites available to the public (standard Internet, n=82). Participants in the tailored Internet and tailored print arms received the same tailored intervention content. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Results: At 6 months, participants in the tailored print arm reported a median of 112.5 minutes of physical activity per week, those in the tailored Internet arm reported 120.0 minutes, and those in the standard Internet arm reported 90.0 minutes (P=.15). At 12 months, the physical activity minutes per week were 90.0, 90.0, and 80.0 for those in the tailored print, tailored Internet, and standard Internet arms, respectively (P=.74). Results indicated no significant differences between the 3 arms. Conclusions: The use of tailored Internet, tailored print, and standard Internet as part of a behavior change program increased physical activity behavior similarly. Because the use of the Internet was not different from the print-based intervention, this may be an opportunity to reach more sedentary adults in a more cost-effective way. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00200317

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-949
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 14 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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