The effectiveness of a web 2.0 physical activity intervention in older adults - a randomised controlled trial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2018, 15 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Interactive web-based physical activity interventions using Web 2.0 features (e.g., social networking) have the potential to improve engagement and effectiveness compared to static Web 1.0 interventions. However, older adults may engage with Web 2.0 interventions differently than younger adults. The aims of this study were to determine whether an interaction between intervention (Web 2.0 and Web 1.0) and age group (<55y and ≥55y) exists for website usage and to determine whether an interaction between intervention (Web 2.0, Web 1.0 and logbook) and age group (<55y and ≥55y) exists for intervention effectiveness (changes in physical activity). Methods: As part of the WALK 2.0 trial, 504 Australian adults were randomly assigned to receive either a paper logbook (n = 171), a Web 1.0 (n = 165) or a Web 2.0 (n = 168) physical activity intervention. Moderate to vigorous physical activity was measured using ActiGraph monitors at baseline 3, 12 and 18months. Website usage statistics including time on site, number of log-ins and number of step entries were also recorded. Generalised linear and intention-to-treat linear mixed models were used to test interactions between intervention and age groups (<55y and ≥55y) for website usage and moderate to vigorous physical activity changes. Results: Time on site was higher for the Web 2.0 compared to the Web 1.0 intervention from baseline to 3months, and this difference was significantly greater in the older group (OR = 1.47, 95%CI = 1.01-2.14, p = .047). Participants in the Web 2.0 group increased their activity more than the logbook group at 3months, and this difference was significantly greater in the older group (moderate to vigorous physical activity adjusted mean difference = 13.74, 95%CI = 1.08-26.40min per day, p = .03). No intervention by age interactions were observed for Web 1.0 and logbook groups. Conclusions: Results partially support the use of Web 2.0 features to improve adults over 55s' engagement in and behaviour changes from web-based physical activity interventions. Trial registration: ACTRN ACTRN12611000157976 , Registered 7 March 2011.
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