411 Remote and web 2.0 interventions effective for promoting physical activity

April 07, 2014

PEARLS 411, November 2013, written by Brian R McAvoy

Clinical question

How effective are remote and web 2.0 interventions for promoting physical activity in community dwelling adults?

Bottom line

Remote and web 2.0 interventions had positive, moderate-sized effects on increasing self-reported physical activity and measured cardiorespiratory fitness, at least at 12 months. Changes were achieved with help from a trained professional and through personal support via telephone, e-mail or written information. There were no differences in effectiveness between studies using different types of professionals (eg, health professionals, exercise specialists) to deliver the interventions. There was no difference between studies that generated the prescribed physical activity using an automated computer programme versus a human, nor between those using pedometers as part of their intervention compared with studies that did not.

It was not possible to assess if the most effective interventions could be easily translated into existing practice. There was a paucity of cost-effectiveness data and studies that included participants from varying socioeconomic or ethnic groups.


Participating in insufficient amounts of physical activity leads to an increased risk of a number of chronic diseases, and physical and mental health problems. Regular physical activity should be a goal for all adults, and it can provide social, emotional and physical health benefits. The majority of adults are not active at recommended levels.

Cochrane Systematic Review

Foster C et al. Remote and web 2.0 interventions for promoting physical activity. Cochrane Reviews, 2013, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD010395.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD010395.pub2. This review contains 11 studies involving 5862 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.