BACKGROUND: Research supports the use of Web-based interventions to promote physical activity in diabetes management. However, previous interventions have found poor levels of engagement or have not included health professionals and people with diabetes in the design of the tool.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and explore the feasibility and indicative effect of a Web-based physical activity promotion intervention in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes living in remote or rural locations.
METHODS: A qualitative approach using focus groups that included patients with diabetes and health professionals were run to identify key concepts, ideas, and features, which resulted in the design of a physical activity website. This site was tested using a quantitative approach with a qualitative 6-month pilot study that adopted a three-armed approach. Participants were randomized into three groups: a control group who received written diabetes-specific physical activity advice; an information Web group, a Web-based group who received the information online; and an intervention Web group, an interactive Web-based group who received online information plus interactive features, such as an activity log, personalized advice, and goal setting.
RESULTS: A website was designed based on patient and health professional ideas for effective physical activity promotion. This website was tested with 31 participants, 61% (19/31) male, who were randomized into the groups. Website log-ins decreased over time: 4.5 times in month 1, falling to 3 times in month 6. Both the information Web group-mean 134.6 (SD 123.9) to mean 154.9 (SD 144.2) min-and the control group-mean 118.9 (SD 103.8) to mean 126.1 (SD 93.4) min, d=0.07-increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but this decreased in the intervention Web group-mean 131.9 (SD 126.2) to mean 116.8 (SD 107.4) min.
CONCLUSIONS: Access to online diabetes-specific physical information was effective in promoting physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes; access to interactive features was not associated with increases in activity.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 96266587; http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN96266587 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6tzX6YesZ).
- blood glucose
- physical activity
- virtual trainer
- web based