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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Efficacy of tailored-print interventions to promote physical activity: a systematic review of randomised trials

Camille E Short1*, Erica L James2, Ronald C Plotnikoff3 and Afaf Girgis4

Author Affiliations

1 School of Medicine and Public Health, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia

2 School of Medicine and Public Health, Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia

3 School of Education, Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia

4 Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Liverpool, NSW, Australia

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:113  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-113

Published: 17 October 2011

Abstract

Objective

Computer-tailored physical activity interventions are becoming increasingly popular. Recent reviews have comprehensively synthesised published research on computer-tailored interventions delivered via interactive technology (e.g. web-based programs) but there is a paucity of synthesis for interventions delivered via traditional print-based media in the physical activity domain (i.e. tailored-print interventions). The current study provides a systematic review of the tailored-print literature, to identify key factors relating to efficacy in tailored-print physical activity interventions.

Method

Computer-tailored print intervention studies published up until May 2010 were identified through a search of three databases: Medline, CINAHL, and Psycinfo; and by searching reference lists of relevant publications, hand searching journals and by reviewing publications lists of 11 key authors who have published in this field.

Results

The search identified 12 interventions with evaluations reported in 26 publications. Seven out of the 12 identified studies reported positive intervention effects on physical activity behaviour, ranging from one month to 24 months post-baseline and 3 months to 18 months post-intervention. The majority of studies reporting positive intervention effects were theory-based interventions with multiple intervention contacts.

Conclusion

There is preliminary evidence that tailored-print interventions are a promising approach to promoting physical activity in adult populations. Future research is needed to further identify key factors relating to efficacy and to determine if this approach is cost-effective and sustainable in the long-term.