The Association Between Web-Based or Face-to-Face Lifestyle Interventions on the Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Exercise in Midlife Women: Three-Arm Equivalency Study

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McGuire, Amanda Mary
Seib, Charrlotte
Porter-Steele, Janine
Anderson, Debra Jane
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Background: Noncommunicable diseases pose a significant threat to women’s health globally, with most diseases being attributed to modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity. Women perceive a range of benefits and barriers to exercise; however, there is little evidence about the effect of different lifestyle intervention delivery modes on perceptions of exercise. Objective: This study aimed to compare the effect of a multiple health behavior change (MHBC) intervention called the Women’s Wellness Program. This intervention was delivered in 3 different modes on perceived exercise benefits, perceived exercise barriers, and actual physical activity and exercise in midlife women. Methods: Women aged 45 to 65 years were recruited via the study website. They were assigned in blocks to 3 different treatment groups (A: Web-based independent; B: face-to-face with nurse consultations; and C: Web-based with virtual nurse consultations). All participants received the 12-week intervention that utilizes principles from social-cognitive theory to provide a structured guide to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors with an emphasis on regular exercise and healthy eating. Data were collected using a self-report Web-based questionnaire at baseline (T1) and postintervention (T2) including perceived exercise benefits and barriers and exercise and physical activity. A data analysis examined both within- and between-group changes over time. Results: Participants in this study (N=225) had a mean age of 50.9 years (SD 5.9) and most were married or living with a partner (83.3%, 185/225). Attrition was 30.2% with 157 participants completing the final questionnaire. Women in all intervention groups reported a significant increase in positive perceptions of exercise (P<.05); a significant increase in exercise and overall physical activity (P<.01) with moderate-to-large effect sizes noted for overall physical activity (d=0.5 to d=0.87). Participants receiving support from registered nurses in the face-to-face and Web-based groups had a greater magnitude of change in benefit perceptions and physical activity than those in the Web-based independent group. There was no significant change in exercise barrier perceptions within or between groups over time. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the (MHBC) intervention is effective in increasing exercise benefit perceptions, overall physical activity, and exercise in midlife women. Although Web-based programs are cost-effective and flexible and can be delivered remotely, providing a range of options including face-to-face group delivery and personalized electronic health coaching from registered nurses has the potential to enhance participant engagement and motivation.

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Journal of Medical Internet Research

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© Amanda Mary McGuire, Charrlotte Seib, Janine Porter-Steele, Debra Jane Anderson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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McGuire, AM; Seib, C; Porter-Steele, J; Anderson, DJ, The Association Between Web-Based or Face-to-Face Lifestyle Interventions on the Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Exercise in Midlife Women: Three-Arm Equivalency Study, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2019, 21 (8)