Purpose: Increase physical activity in healthcare employees using health messaging, and compare email with mobile phone short-message service (SMS) as delivery channels.
Design: Randomised controlled trial
Setting: UK hospital workplace
Subjects: 296 employees (19-67 years, 53% of study website visitors)
Intervention: 12-week messaging intervention designed to increase physical activity and delivered via SMS (n=147) or email (n=149); content tailored using Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and limited to 160 characters.
Measures: Baseline, 6, 12 and 16 weeks. Online measures included TPB constructs; physical activity behaviour on the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire; health-related quality of life on the Short-Form 12.
Analysis: General linear models for repeated measures.
Results: Increase in duration (mean hours/day) of moderate work-related activity and moderate recreational activity from baseline to 16 weeks. Short-lived increase in frequency (days/week) of vigorous recreational activity from baseline to 6 weeks. Increase in duration and frequency of active travel from baseline to 16 weeks. Emails generated greater changes than SMS in active travel and moderate activity (work and recreational).
Conclusion: Minimal physical activity promotion delivered by SMS or email can increase frequency and duration of active travel, and duration of moderate-intensity physical activity at work and for leisure, which is maintained up to one-month after messaging ends. Both channels were useful platforms for health communication; emails were particularly beneficial with hospital employees.
Blake, H., Suggs, L. S., Coman, E., Aguirre, L., & Batt, M. E. (2017). Active8! Technology-based intervention to promote physical activity in hospital employees. American Journal of Health Promotion, 31(2), https://doi.org/10.4278/ajhp.140415-QUAN-143