“MovingCall” – Physical Activity Study of the University Basel (DSGB)

Background

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a variety of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, physical activity has a positive effect on mental well-being and quality of life. It is therefore important for health promotion to develop programs that help people absorb and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

University Basel

The Department of Sports, Exercise, and Health of the University of Basel developed a program called “Movingcall” that supports and accompanies participants on the way to become physically more active. who want to make their everyday lives more active. Telephone counseling sessions were used as well as an integrated digital coaching app developed by Youdowell AG.

Goal and Procedure

The Movingcall study looked at how to best support adult adults in the acquisition and maintenance of regular physical activity. For this purpose, three versions of a movement promotion program were compared.

  1. The “written group” received a one-time written recommendation at the beginning of the program.
  2. The “coaching group” received twelve telephone coaching sessions that were held every two weeks.
  3. The “Coaching and SMS Group” received four SMS/Text messages between the coaching sessions (altogether 48 SMS/Texts).

In all three groups individually adapted, evidence-based behavior change techniques, as well as training recommendations, were mediated.

Data collection took place before and after the six-month program and six months after the end of the program. The short- and long-term effects of the program on the self-reported (interview) and objectively recorded (accelerometer) physical activity were measured.

In addition, it was analyzed whether psychosocial determinants of physical activity (eg cost-benefit expectations, action planning) influence the program’s impact.

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a variety of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, physical activity has a positive effect on mental well-being and quality of life. It is therefore important for health promotion to develop programs that help people absorb and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

Population

The study population consisted of 288 adults. On average, the subjects were 42 years old and two-thirds of the population were women. At the beginning of the program, individuals reported an average of 108 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Self-reported Physical Activity

After the six-month program, all three groups showed on average an increase in self-reported physical activity. Compared to the starting level, this was an increase of 100 minutes in the “written group” and a good 250 minutes per week in the two groups with coaching.

Thus, the coaching variants led to a higher level of movement than a one-time written recommendation. By contrast, the SMS messages did not result in any additional increase in physical activity. Six months after the end of the program (after one year), all three groups were similarly physically active as right after the end of the program. The increase in self-reported physical activity was thus maintained.

Objectively documented Physical Activity

The observed group differences were also confirmed by the accelerometer-detected motion. The accelerometers showed an increase in physical activity in the “coaching group” and the “coaching and SMS group” after six months. The “written group” showed on average no change after six months and a slight decrease in physical activity after one year.

Compared to self-reported physical activity, accelerometer-detected changes were smaller. However, the differences between the interview and the accelerometer are not surprising since they are two very different methods of quantifying movement.

Acceptance, psychosocial determinants and behavior change techniques

The telephone coaching was rated very positively by the participants. Only 10% of the coaching groups ended the study early.

The analysis of the psychosocial determinants showed that the coaching led to sustainable planning of physical activity and improved handling of obstacles (eg bad weather, no time).

In the short term, the self-efficacy, the cost-benefit expectation, and the intention were positively influenced.

Support in the areas of “planning“, “overcoming obstacles” as well as “activity recommendations” and, in general, “coaching support” were the most valued by the participants.

Summary

Overall, telephone coaching proved to be a very positive and effective way to help adults engage in a physically active lifestyle.

Scientific Publications

Coaching for remote physical activity promotion: Study protocol of a three-arm randomized controlled trial (Movingcall)

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/3/331

Telephone-based coaching and prompting for physical activity: Short- and
long-term findings of a randomized controlled trial (Movingcall)

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/14/2626

Exploring psychosocial mediators of remote physical activity counseling: A
secondary analysis of data from a 1-year randomized control trial (Movingcall)

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10865-019-00112-6

Dissertation: Tailored multicomponent intervention for remote physical
activity promotion in inactive adults

 

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