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Using electronic/computer interventions to promote physical activity
  1. B H Marcus1,
  2. J T Ciccolo2,
  3. C N Sciamanna3
  1. 1
    Department of Community Health and Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Community Health and the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, Brown Medical School and the Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  3. 3
    Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Dr B H Marcus, Department of Community Health and Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, 121 South Main Street, 8th floor, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA; bess_marcus{at}


The internet has been used as a method to deliver various health interventions (eg, weight management, smoking cessation, increasing physical activity). An electronic search (ie, PubMed, PsycInfo, Web of Science) for internet-based physical activity interventions among adults yields fewer than 25 studies. Although many have considered physical activity as one element of a multifactorial behavioural intervention, few have focused exclusively on changing sedentary behaviour. Overall, current results are encouraging and it appears that response to an internet-based physical activity intervention is similar to response to other more established, effective interventions. Given that primary care referrals for physical activity are successful in changing sedentary behaviour to some extent, there is an urgent need for investigations into the effect of using an internet-based physical activity programme within the context of primary care. Although no studies that have combined an established internet-based physical activity programme with primary care were found, there is evidence that significant progress would probably be made by providing clinicians with information on internet-based physical activity programmes.

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  • Competing interests: None.