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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

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Physical activity mass media campaigns and their evaluation: a systematic review of the literature 2003-2010

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Review published: .

CRD summary

The review concluded that beyond raising awareness the effects of mass media campaigns on promoting physical activity in adults were uncertain. The review had some methodological issues and the quality of the evidence base was uncertain but the authors’ conclusions are suitably cautious and appear reasonable.

Authors' objectives

To determine the effectiveness of physical activity mass media campaigns to promote regular moderate-intensity physical activity.

Searching

Seven databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE and Current Contents were searched from 2003 to week six of 2010 for peer reviewed articles published in English. Search terms were reported. Reference lists of retrieved articles were searched.

Study selection

Studies of mass media campaigns and/or social media campaigns promoting regular moderate-intensity physical activity in adults were eligible for inclusion. Media could be paid or unpaid. Studies that focused on clinical populations, qualitative methods, children/adolescents and those that did not report evaluable data were excluded. The relevant outcomes were dose, exposure, awareness, physical activity related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, intention, physical activity behaviour and campaign costs.

The included studies considered physical activity campaigns conducted in USA, Australia, Canada, Belgium, South America and New Zealand. Types of media included television commercials, public service announcements, radio commercials, billboards, paid and unpaid print media inserts, bus packs and wraps, print media, website traffic, public health activities, policy and environmental change. Campaign durations ranged from eight weeks to more than two years.

The authors did not state how many reviewers performed study selection.

Assessment of study quality

The authors did not state whether they assessed study quality.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on awareness, physical activity related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, intention, physical activity behaviour and campaign costs.

The authors did not state how many reviewers extracted data. Study authors where contacted, where necessary.

Methods of synthesis

A narrative synthesis was presented.

Results of the review

Twenty-two studies of 18 mass media campaigns were included in the review: five quasi-experimental studies, 12 non-experimental studies and one mixed method study. Fourteen studies used random population sampling, one used convenience sampling, one used cluster and convenience sampling, one used intercept sampling and one study did not state the sampling technique.

Awareness levels ranged from 17.4% to 95% prompted recall with mass media campaigns. Women tended to have higher levels of awareness. Seven out of 15 campaigns reported significant increases in physical activity levels. One campaign found a significant increase in intention to be more active. Other outcomes were reported in various ways and were difficult to compare.

Authors' conclusions

Beyond raising awareness, the effects of mass media campaigns on promoting physical activity in adults were uncertain.

CRD commentary

Inclusion criteria for the review were clearly defined. Several relevant databases were searched. There was potential for language bias as only studies in English were included. Publication bias was not assessed and could not be ruled out. The authors noted that they may have missed campaign reports not published in peer reviewed journals. It was unclear whether any attempts were made to reduce reviewer error and bias within the review. There was no quality assessment and this made assessment of the quality of the evidence base difficult. Most studies were non-experimental in design and thus prone to bias. Studies were narratively synthesised and this seemed appropriate given the type of evidence.

The review had some methodological issues and the quality of the evidence base was uncertain but the authors’ conclusions are suitably cautious and appear reasonable.

Implications of the review for practice and research

Practice: The authors did not state any implications for practice.

Research: The authors stated that further studies were needed to inform theories and frameworks. Studies should use a cohort design and multiple collection points, have sufficient duration, use validated measures and adequately describe campaign content and evaluation design. The effects of mass media campaigns on promoting physical activity in children and adolescents needed to be reviewed systematically.

Funding

The Heart Foundation, Australia; Department of Health and University of Western Australia Scholarship.

Bibliographic details

Leavy JE, Bull FC, Rosenberg M, Bauman A. Physical activity mass media campaigns and their evaluation: a systematic review of the literature 2003-2010. Health Education Research 2011; 26(6): 1060-1085. [PubMed: 21900408]

Indexing Status

Subject indexing assigned by NLM

MeSH

Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Exercise /physiology; Female; Health Promotion /methods; Humans; Male; Mass Media; Middle Aged; Program Evaluation /methods; Young Adult

AccessionNumber

12012001737

Database entry date

17/10/2012

Record Status

This is a critical abstract of a systematic review that meets the criteria for inclusion on DARE. Each critical abstract contains a brief summary of the review methods, results and conclusions followed by a detailed critical assessment on the reliability of the review and the conclusions drawn.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.
Bookshelf ID: NBK97240

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