, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 138-146

Efficacy of sequential or simultaneous interactive computer-tailored interventions for increasing physical activity and decreasing fat intake

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Abstract

Background: Little evidence exists about the effectiveness of “interactive” computer-tailored interventions and about the combined effectiveness of tailored interventions on physical activity and diet. Furthermore, it is unknown whether they should be executed sequentially or simultaneously.Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine (a) the effectiveness of interactive computer-tailored interventions for increasing physical activity and decreasing fat intake and (b) which intervening mode, sequential or simultaneous, is most effective in behavior change.Methods: Participants (N = 771) were randomly assigned to receive (a) the physical activity and fat intake interventions simultaneously at baseline, (b) the physical activity intervention at baseline and the fat intake intervention 3 months later, (c) the fat intake intervention at baseline and the physical activity intervention 3 months later, or (d) a place in the control group.Results: Six months postbaseline, the results showed that the tailored interventions produced significantly higher physical activity scores, F(2, 573) = 11.4, p < .001, and lower fat intake scores, F(2, 565) = 31.4, p < .001, in the experimental groups when compared to the control group.Conclusions: For both behaviors, the sequential and simultaneous intervening modes showed to be effective; however, for the fat intake intervention and for the participants who did not meet the recommendation in the physical activity intervention, the simultaneous mode appeared to work better than the sequential mode.

This study was financially supported by the Ghent University and the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research.We thank Katrien Bogaert, Griet Bonamie, Nele Callewaert, Hilde Decrop, Evelyn Vanbesien, and Els Van Cleemput for their cooperation in data gathering.