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Using Electronic/Computer Interventions to Promote Physical Activity
  1. Bess Marcus (bess_marcus{at}
  1. Brown University, United States
    1. Joseph Ciccolo (joseph_ciccolo{at}
    1. Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital, United States
      1. Chris N Sciamanna (cns10{at}
      1. Pennsylavania State College of Medicine, United States


        The internet has been used as method to deliver various interventions for health; weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction, blood glucose control, reducing alcohol consumption, and increasing physical activity. A search (i.e., Pubmed, PsycInfo, Web of Science) for papers reporting Internet-based physical activity interventions among adults yields fewer than 25 studies. Many of those studies have considered physical activity as one element of a multifactorial behavioural intervention that may have also included elements such as advice for weight loss, stress management, and smoking cessation. Few focused exclusively on changing sedentary behavior. Overall, the results of Internet-based physical activity studies are encouraging, with many studies finding significant differences in physical activity over time, as well as in other factors that have been associated with being physically active. To date, research with Internet-based physical activity programs has failed to take full advantage of this contemporary medium by only constructing fully automated programs. They have not combined internet intervention with face-to-face contact. Primary care physician referral for physical activity is somewhat successful in changing sedentary behavior but whether or not such referrals to an established Internet-based physical activity program are effective remains unknown. Overall, it appears that individuals respond similarly to an Internet-based physical activity intervention as they do to other more established, effective interventions. Thus, there is an urgent need for investigations into the impact of using an Internet-based physical activity program within the context of primary care. Although we are unaware of any study that has tested the impact of combining an established internet based physical activity program with primary care, significant progress will likely be made by providing clinicians with information on Internet-based physical activity programs.

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