Effectiveness of Structured Physical Activity Interventions Through the Evaluation of Physical Activity Levels, Adoption, Retention, Maintenance, and Adherence Rates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Structured physical activity (PA) interventions (ie, intentionally planned) can be implemented in a variety of facilities, and therefore can reach a large proportion of the population. The aim of the authors was to summarize the effectiveness of structured interventions upon PA outcomes, in addition to proportions of individuals adopting and maintaining PA, and adherence and retention rates. Methods: Systematic review with narrative synthesis and exploratory meta-analyses. Twelve studies were included. Results: Effectiveness on PA levels during adoption (pre- to first time point) showed a trivial standardized effect (0.15 [−0.06 to 0.36]); during maintenance (any time point after the first and >6 mo since initiation) the standardized effect was also trivial with a wide interval estimate (0.19 [−0.68 to 1.07]). Few studies reported adoption (k = 3) or maintenance rates (k = 2). Retention at follow-up did not differ between structured PA or controls (75.1% [65.0%–83.0%] vs 75.4% [67.0%–82.3%]), nor did intervention adherence (63.0% [55.6%–69.6%] vs 77.8% [19.4%–98.1%]). Conclusion: Structured PA interventions lack evidence for effectiveness in improving PA levels. Furthermore, though retention is often reported and is similar between interventions and controls, adoption, maintenance, and adherence rates were rarely reported rendering difficulty in interpreting results of effectiveness of structured PA interventions.

Willinger and Horton are with the Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom. Steele is with the ukactive Research Institute, London, United Kingdom; and the Solent University, Southampton, United Kingdom. Atkinson is with the Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Liguori is with The University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI. Jimenez is with the GO FIT Lab, Ingesport, Madrid, Spain; the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom; and the Centre for Sports Studies, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain. Mann is with the 4global, London, United Kingdom.

Willinger (willingn@uni.coventry.ac.uk) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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