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Are web-based personally tailored physical activity videos more effective than personally tailored text-based interventions? Results from the three-arm randomised controlled TaylorActive trial


Objectives Some online, personally tailored, text-based physical activity interventions have proven effective. However, people tend to ‘skim’ and ‘scan’ web-based text rather than thoroughly read their contents. In contrast, online videos are more engaging and popular. We examined whether web-based personally tailored physical activity videos were more effective in promoting physical activity than personally tailored text and generic information.

Methods 501 adults were randomised into a video-tailored intervention, text-tailored intervention or control. Over a 3-month period, intervention groups received access to eight sessions of web-based personally tailored physical activity advice. Only the delivery method differed between intervention groups: tailored video versus tailored text. The primary outcome was 7-day ActiGraph-GT3X+ measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) assessed at 0, 3 and 9 months. Secondary outcomes included self-reported MVPA and website engagement. Differences were examined using generalised linear mixed models with intention-to-treat and multiple imputation.

Results Accelerometer-assessed MVPA increased 23% in the control (1.23 (1.06, 1.43)), 12% in the text-tailored (1.12 (0.95, 1.32)) and 28% in the video-tailored (1.28 (1.06, 1.53)) groups at the 3-month follow-up only, though there were no significant between-group differences. Both text-tailored (1.77 (1.37, 2.28]) and video-tailored (1.37 (1.04, 1.79)) groups significantly increased self-reported MVPA more than the control group at 3 months only, but there were no differences between video-tailored and text-tailored groups. The video-tailored group spent significantly more time on the website compared with text-tailored participants (90 vs 77 min, p=0.02).

Conclusions The personally tailored videos were not more effective than personally tailored text in increasing MVPA. The findings from this study conflict with pilot study outcomes and previous literature. Process evaluation and mediation analyses will provide further insights.

Trial registration number ACTRN12615000057583

  • physical activity
  • intervention efficacy
  • randomised controlled trial
  • behaviour
  • accelerometer

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