Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 112–126 | Cite as

Future directions in physical activity intervention research: expanding our focus to sedentary behaviors, technology, and dissemination

  • Beth A. LewisEmail author
  • Melissa A. Napolitano
  • Matthew P. Buman
  • David M. Williams
  • Claudio R. Nigg


Despite the increased health risks of a sedentary lifestyle, only 49 % of American adults participate in physical activity (PA) at the recommended levels. In an effort to move the PA field forward, we briefly review three emerging areas of PA intervention research. First, new intervention research has focused on not only increasing PA but also on decreasing sedentary behavior. Researchers should utilize randomized controlled trials, common terminology, investigate which behaviors should replace sedentary behaviors, evaluate long-term outcomes, and focus across the lifespan. Second, technology has contributed to an increase in sedentary behavior but has also led to innovative PA interventions. PA technology research should focus on large randomized trials with evidence-based components, explore social networking and innovative apps, improve PA monitoring, consider the lifespan, and be grounded in theory. Finally, in an effort to maximize public health impact, dissemination efforts should address the RE-AIM model, health disparities, and intervention costs.


Physical activity Sedentary behavior Dissemination Intervention Technology 



The authors thank the Society of Behavioral Medicine Physical Activity SIG members who reviewed this manuscript including James Sallis, Danielle Arigo, Lisa Cadmus-Bertram, and Mathilda Coday. This manuscript was significantly improved due to the detailed feedback they provided on the first version of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Beth A. Lewis, Melissa A. Napolitano, Matthew P. Buman, David M. Williams and Claudio R. Nigg declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth A. Lewis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melissa A. Napolitano
    • 2
  • Matthew P. Buman
    • 3
  • David M. Williams
    • 4
  • Claudio R. Nigg
    • 5
  1. 1.School of KinesiologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Prevention and Community Health/Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public HealthThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of Nutrition and Health PromotionCollege of Health SolutionsPhoenixUSA
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral and Social SciencesBrown University School of Public HealthProvidenceUSA
  5. 5.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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