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Lucas J. Carr, R. Todd Bartee, Chris M. Dorozynski, James F. Broomfield, Marci L. Smith and Derek T. Smith

Background:

Less than half of U.S. adults engage in the recommended amount of physical activity (PA). Internet-delivered PA programs increase short-term PA but long-term adherence is largely equivocal.

Purpose:

To determine whether increased PA following the 16-week internet-delivered Active Living Every Day (ALED-I) program is maintained 8 months later in sedentary and overweight rural adults.

Methods:

In our previous randomized controlled trial (N = 32; 18 intent-to-treat controls, 14 ALED-I interventions), the ALED-I group increased PA (+1384 steps/day; E.S. = 0.95) and reduced central adiposity. Nine original intervention participants and ten delayed intent-to-treat control participants completed ALED-I and an 8-month follow-up. Pedometer-measured PA, anthropometric variables, and cardiometabolic disease risk factors were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and at 8 months.

Results:

Control crossover participants increased PA (+1337 steps/day; P = .04). Eight months following completion of ALED-I (N = 19), PA levels relapsed (–1340 steps/day) and were similar to levels before the intervention (6850 ± 471 steps/day vs. 6755 ± 543 steps/day; P = .89). Total cholesterol and triglycerides improved, –9.9% and –18.2%, respectively, and reductions in central adiposity were maintained (97.1 ± 2.2 cm vs. 97.2 ± 2.2 cm; P = .66).

Conclusions:

The ALED-I intervention was efficacious in the short-term but did not produce longer-term adherence to PA. Future theory- based internet-delivered interventions that produce habituation of increased PA are warranted. Study conducted in Laramie, WY from January 2007 through November 2007.