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Prev Med. 2005 Jan;40(1):54-9.

Engagement and retention of participants in a physical activity website.

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  • 1School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Australia.



Websites have the potential to deliver enhanced versions of targeted and tailored physical activity programs to large numbers of participants. We describe participant engagement and retention with a stage-based physical activity website in a workplace setting.


We analyzed data from participants in the website condition of a randomized trial designed to test the efficacy of a print- vs. website-delivered intervention. They received four stage-targeted e-mails over 8 weeks, with hyperlinks to the website. Both objective and self-reported website use data were collected and analyzed.


Overall, 327 were randomized to the website condition and 250 (76%) completed the follow-up survey. Forty-six percent (n = 152) visited the website over the trial period. A total of 4,114 hits to the website were recorded. Participants who entered the site spent on average 9 min per visit and viewed 18 pages. Website use declined over time; 77% of all visits followed the first e-mail.


Limited website engagement, despite the perceived usefulness of the materials, demonstrates possible constraints on the use of e-mails and websites in delivering health behavior change programs. In the often-cluttered information environment of workplaces, issues of engagement and retention in website-delivered programs require attention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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