Content » Vol 49, Issue 2

Review article

Effectiveness of technology-based distance interventions promoting physical activity: Systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression

Sanna Hakala, Aki Rintala, Jaakko Immonen, Juha Karvanen, Ari Heinonen, Tuulikki Sjögren
Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2195


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of technology-based distance interventions for promoting physical activity, using systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: A literature search of studies published between 2000 and 2015 was conducted in the following databases: CENTRAL, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, OTseeker, WOS and PEDro. Studies were selected according to the PICOS framework, as follows: P (population): adults; I (intervention): technology-based distance intervention for promoting physical activity; C (comparison) similar distance intervention without technology, O (outcomes) physical activity; S (study design) randomized controlled trial. Physical activity outcomes were extracted and quality was assessed by 2 independent authors.
Results: Eight studies were included in the meta-analysis. The mean (standard deviation; range) me
thodological quality score of the studies was 6 (1. 3; 4–8). Technology-based distance interventions were not more or less effective than conventional treatment whether measured as steps/day (mean difference 1,657; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) –1,861 to 5,176, p = 0. 18), physical activity min/week (mean difference 0. 34; 95% CI –146. 3 to 146. 9, p = 0. 92), or as overall physical activity (response ratio 1. 1; 95% CI 0. 8–1. 4, p = 0. 65). No associations between the intervention duration or study quality and physical activity outcomes were found. Data were statistically and clinically heterogeneous.
Conclusion: The effectiveness of technology-based distance interventions for promoting physical activity is similar to that of conventional treatment.

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