User attitudes towards physical activity websites in a randomized controlled trial

Beth Lewis, David Williams, Shira Dunsiger, Christopher Sciamanna, Jessica Whiteley, Melissa Napolitano, Beth Bock, John Jakicic, Michael Getz, Bess Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To better understand the mixed findings regarding the efficacy of Internet-based physical activity interventions, we examined the use and usefulness of particular website components that may lead to improvements in intervention efficacy. Method: Participants were sedentary individuals from a 12-month randomized controlled physical activity trial conducted in Providence, Rhode Island and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 2003-2006. The present study included participants from the Tailored Internet arm (n = 81; instantaneous web-based tailored feedback to participants) or the Standard Internet arm (n = 82; websites currently available to the public). We obtained objective data via the intervention websites and subjective usefulness data via questionnaires. Results: The Tailored Internet arm logged onto their website significantly more times than the Standard Internet arm (median 50 vs. 38; p < .05). Among participants in the Tailored Internet arm, the self-monitoring feature (i.e., logging) followed by goal setting were rated as the most useful website components. Conclusion: Logins in the current study were substantially higher compared to previous studies. Participants endorsed goal setting and self-monitoring as being most useful, which are critical components for health behavior change. Future studies should continue to examine these features and improve the perceived usefulness of other theory-based strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-513
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part through a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (#HL69866) awarded to B. Marcus. We would like to thank Drs. Abby King and Deborah Tate for their assistance in the design of this study. Additionally, we thank Santina Ficara, B.S., Maureen Hamel, B.S., Jaime Longval, M.S., Regina Traficante, Ph.D., Kenny McParlin, and Susan Pinheiro, B.A., for their contributions to the conduct of this study.


  • Exercise
  • Feedback
  • Internet
  • Intervention studies


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