Engaging sedentary individuals in physical activity (PA) is challenging and problematic for research requiring large, representative samples. For research projects to be carried out in reasonable timeframes, optimum recruitment methods are needed. Effective recruitment strategies involving PA interventions for older adults have not been determined.
To compare the effectiveness of recruitment strategies for a PA intervention.
Two recruitment strategies, print media and personal contact, targeted health-care professionals and the general public.
The strategies generated 581 inquiries; 163 were randomized into the study. Advertising to the general public via print materials and group presentations accounted for 78% of the total inquiries. Referrals from physicians and health-care professionals resulted in 22% of the inquiries.
Mass distribution of print material to the general public, enhanced by in-person contact, was the most effective recruitment strategy. These findings suggest various recruitment strategies targeting the general population should be employed.