Effectiveness of a Web- and Mobile Phone-Based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in Middle-Aged Males: Randomized Controlled Trial of the ManUp Study
Duncan, Mitch J
Kolt, Gregory S
Rosenkranz, Richard R
Caperchione, Cristina M
Mummery, W Kerry
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Background: The high number of adult males engaging in low levels of physical activity and poor dietary practices, and the health risks posed by these behaviors, necessitate broad-reaching intervention strategies. Information technology (IT)-based (Web and mobile phone) interventions can be accessed by large numbers of people, yet there are few reported IT-based interventions targeting males’ physical activity and dietary practices. Objective: This study examines the effectiveness of a 9-month IT-based intervention (ManUp) to improve the physical activity, dietary behaviors, and health literacy in middle-aged males compared to a print-based intervention. Methods: Participants, recruited offline (eg, newspaper ads), were randomized into either an IT-based or print-based intervention arm on a 2:1 basis in favor of the fully automated IT-based arm. Participants were adult males aged 35-54 years living in 2 regional cities in Queensland, Australia, who could access the Internet, owned a mobile phone, and were able to increase their activity level. The intervention, ManUp, was based on social cognitive and self-regulation theories and specifically designed to target males. Educational materials were provided and self-monitoring of physical activity and nutrition behaviors was promoted. Intervention content was the same in both intervention arms; only the delivery mode differed. Content could be accessed throughout the 9-month study period. Participants’ physical activity, dietary behaviors, and health literacy were measured using online surveys at baseline, 3 months, and 9 months. Results: A total of 301 participants completed baseline assessments, 205 in the IT-based arm and 96 in the print-based arm. A total of 124 participants completed all 3 assessments. There were no significant between-group differences in physical activity and dietary behaviors (P≥.05). Participants reported an increased number of minutes and sessions of physical activity at 3 months (exp(β)=1.45, 95% CI 1.09-1.95; exp(β)=1.61, 95% CI 1.17-2.22) and 9 months (exp(β)=1.55, 95% CI 1.14-2.10; exp(β)=1.51, 95% CI 1.15-2.00). Overall dietary behaviors improved at 3 months (exp(β)=1.07, 95% CI 1.03-1.11) and 9 months (exp(β)=1.10, 95% CI 1.05-1.13). The proportion of participants in both groups eating higher-fiber bread and low-fat milk increased at 3 months (exp(β)=2.25, 95% CI 1.29-3.92; exp(β)=1.65, 95% CI 1.07-2.55). Participants in the IT-based arm were less likely to report that 30 minutes of physical activity per day improves health (exp(β)=0.48, 95% CI 0.26-0.90) and more likely to report that vigorous intensity physical activity 3 times per week is essential (exp(β)=1.70, 95% CI 1.02-2.82). The average number of log-ins to the IT platform at 3 and 9 months was 6.99 (SE 0.86) and 9.22 (SE 1.47), respectively. The average number of self-monitoring entries at 3 and 9 months was 16.69 (SE 2.38) and 22.51 (SE 3.79), respectively. Conclusions: The ManUp intervention was effective in improving physical activity and dietary behaviors in middle-aged males with no significant differences between IT- and print-based delivery modes.
Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 12.06.2014. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.