A randomised controlled trial of three very brief interventions for physical activity in primary care

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Title: A randomised controlled trial of three very brief interventions for physical activity in primary care
Authors: Pears, S
Bijker, M
Morton, K
Vasconcelos, J
Parker, RA
Westgate, K
Brage, S
Wilson, E
Prevost, AT
Kinmonth, A-L
Griffin, S
Sutton, S
Hardeman, W
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Very brief interventions (VBIs) for physical activity are promising, but there is uncertainty about their potential effectiveness and cost. We assessed potential efficacy, feasibility, acceptability, and cost of three VBIs in primary care, in order to select the most promising intervention for evaluation in a subsequent large-scale RCT. Methods Three hundred and ninety four adults aged 40–74 years were randomised to a Motivational (n = 83), Pedometer (n = 74), or Combined (n = 80) intervention, delivered immediately after a preventative health check in primary care, or control (Health Check only; n = 157). Potential efficacy was measured as the probability of a positive difference between an intervention arm and the control arm in mean physical activity, measured by accelerometry at 4 weeks. Results For the primary outcome the estimated effect sizes (95 % CI) relative to the Control arm for the Motivational, Pedometer and Combined arms were respectively: +20.3 (−45.0, +85.7), +23.5 (−51.3, +98.3), and −3.1 (−69.3, +63.1) counts per minute. There was a73% probability of a positive effect on physical activity for each of the Motivational and Pedometer VBIs relative to control, but only 46 % for the Combined VBI. Only the Pedometer VBI was deliverable within 5 min. All VBIs were acceptable and low cost. Conclusions Based on the four criteria, the Pedometer VBI was selected for evaluation in a large-scale trial.
Issue Date: 30-Sep-2016
Date of Acceptance: 19-Sep-2016
ISSN: 1471-2458
Publisher: BioMed Central
Journal / Book Title: BMC Public Health
Volume: 16
Copyright Statement: © 2016 The Author(s). s This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Very brief interventions
Physical activity
Behaviour change techniques
Health promotion
Public health
Primary care
VBI Programme Team
Public Health
Public Health And Health Services
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 1033
Appears in Collections:Repository Tools
Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care

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