Table 1 Summary of the most recent studies using internet interventions to promote physical activity
First authorSample size and populationStudy designIntervention designIntervention durationMajor dependent variable(s)ResultsUnique features
Napolitano1265 Worksite men and women; mean age 43 yearsInternet vs controlAccess to interactive website with weekly e-mail3 Months; 1 and 3-month follow-upStage of change for PA; minutes of PASignificant differences between groups for progression in stage of change and minutes of PAOne of the first internet-based PA studies
Rovniak1361 Women; mean age 40 yearsGeneral feedback vs tailored feedbackIntroductory walking session; 2 e-mails/week12 Weeks; 3-week and 1-year follow-up1-Mile walk; minutes walking/2 weeksSignificant improvement in 1-mile walk in tailored feedback; no other significant differences between groups1-Year follow-up
Woolf14256 Men and women; aged 18–60 yearsInteractive tailored vs static websitePhysician referral to interactive or static website1 and 4-month follow-up after initial log on to websiteMultiple measures of PA, diet, alcohol use, smokingSignificant increase in light/moderate PA at 1 month; no other significant changesUsed physician referrals to website
Marcus15239 Men and women; mean age 44 yearsTailored internet vs tailored print vs standard internetInteractive stage-based website with e-mail prompts12 Months, no follow-upMinutes of PA; meeting national PA guidelinesSignificant changes from baseline to 6 and 12 months in all three groups. No significant differences among groups at any time point12-Month intervention
Spittaels16526 Belgian men and women; mean age 40 yearsTailored PA advice with e-mail vs tailored PA advice vs non-tailored PA adviceOne-time log on for tailored/standard advice; 5 e-mails delivered over 8 weeks8 Weeks; 6-month follow-upMinutes of PA; sitting timeSignificant increase in all three groups. No significant differences among groupsFirst fully automated internet-based intervention
Carr17N  =  32; US male and female adults; mean age 35 yearsInternet vs wait-list controlWeekly e-mail or phone contact with study facilitators for the first 2 weeks; then e-mail contact every other week until week 1616 Weeks; assessments at baseline and 16 weeksSteps/week; body mass index; total cholesterol/HDL and triglycerides; 1-mile walk testSignificant changes in steps/week and 1-mile walk test in both groups; significant differences between groups in waist circumference, total cholesterol/HDL, and triglycerides when controlling for ageFound significant changes in blood lipids
Franko18N  =  476; US college students from six universities nationwide; mean age 20 years2 Sessions on website vs 2 sessions on website with a booster session vs 2 sessions on control websiteInteractive website targeting nutrition and physical activity6 Months; assessments at baseline, 2 weeks post-baseline, 3 and 6 monthsFruit/vegetable intake; readiness to change fruit/vegetable intake; nutrition knowledge; previous 7 day physical activity; social support/self-efficacy for dietary change; benefits/barriers for physical activityGroups 1 and 2 significantly increased fruit and vegetable intake, motivation to change eating, social support and self-efficacy for dietary change and attitude towards exerciseNationwide recruitment targeting college students
  • HDL, high-density lipoprotein; PA, physical activity.