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Active8! Technology-based intervention to promote physical activity in hospital employees

Blake, Holly; Suggs, L. Suzanne; Coman, Emil; Aguirre, Lucia; Batt, Mark E.

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Professor of Behavioural Medicine

L. Suzanne Suggs

Emil Coman

Lucia Aguirre

Mark E. Batt


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),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 27, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 11, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2017
Deposit Date May 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date May 12, 2017
Journal American Journal of Health Promotion
Print ISSN 0890-1171
Electronic ISSN 2168-6602
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Keywords Cellular phone, Health communication, Text messaging, Electronic mail, Exercise, Workplace
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