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Health Promot Int. 2006 Dec;21(4):311-9. Epub 2006 Sep 8.

Implementation of an online tailored physical activity intervention for adults in Belgium.

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  • 1Policy Research Centre Sport, Physical Activity and Health, Belgium.


It has been argued that the Internet is a promising channel for distribution of health promoting programs, because of its advantage to reach a wide variety of people at once, at any time and location. However, little research is done to study how we could prompt people to use these online health promoting programs. Therefore the main objective of the present study was to assess if a face-to-face contact stimulates adults to visit a recently developed tailored physical activity website to promote more physical activity in the general Belgian population. The second objective was to test the website under real-life conditions in a small sample. Therefore, 200 flyers, with a call for evaluating the new tailored physical activity website, were distributed to hospital visitors in two different ways. One group of visitors were personally approached by a research assistant and handed over a flyer. Another 100 visitors could simply take a flyer home, without initial personal contact. After two months, telephone interviews were done to make a qualitative evaluation of the website. The results showed that obviously more participants with an initial face-to-face contact (46%) registered on the website in comparison with the participants without personal contact (6%). The used strategy reaches participants of both sexes as well as regular and irregular Internet users. Secondly, the telephone interviews indicated that the website was accepted well, without major problems. We could conclude that distributing flyers combined with a short face-to-face contact, increased the number of visitors compared with distributed flyers without contact and that the tailored physical activity website could be used in real-life situations to promote an active lifestyle in Belgium. However, a controlled study with a larger sample size should be done to test the effectiveness of the tailored intervention in increasing physical activity.

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