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"Active Team" a social and gamified app-based physical activity intervention: Randomised controlled trial study protocol

journal contribution
posted on 05.04.2018, 00:00 by S Edney, R Plotnikoff, Corneel VandelanotteCorneel Vandelanotte, T Olds, I De Bourdeaudhuij, J Ryan, C Maher
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Physical inactivity is a leading preventable cause of chronic disease and premature death globally, yet over half of the adult Australian population is inactive. To address this, web-based physical activity interventions, which have the potential to reach large numbers of users at low costs, have received considerable attention. To fully realise the potential of such interventions, there is a need to further increase their appeal to boost engagement and retention, and sustain intervention effects over longer periods of time. This randomised controlled trial aims to evaluate the efficacy of a gamified physical activity intervention that connects users to each other via Facebook and is delivered via a mobile app. Methods: The study is a three-group, cluster-RCT. Four hundred and forty (440) inactive Australian adults who use Facebook at least weekly will be recruited in clusters of three to eight existing Facebook friends. Participant clusters will be randomly allocated to one of three conditions: (1) waitlist control condition, (2) basic experimental condition (pedometer plus basic app with no social and gamification features), or (3) socially-enhanced experimental condition (pedometer plus app with social and gamification features). Participants will undertake assessments at baseline, three and nine months. The primary outcome is change in total daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at three months measured objectively using GENEActive accelerometers [Activeinsights Ltd., UK]. Secondary outcomes include self-reported physical activity, depression and anxiety, wellbeing, quality of life, social-cognitive theory constructs and app usage and engagement. Discussion: The current study will incorporate novel social and gamification elements in order to examine whether the inclusion of these components increases the efficacy of app-based physical activity interventions. The findings will be used to guide the development and increase the effectiveness of future health behaviour interventions. Trial registration: This trial was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12617000113358, date of registration 23 January, 2017).


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)






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Springer Nature

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© The Author(s), 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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External Author Affiliations

University of South Australia; University of Newcastle; CQUniversity Australia; University of Ghent, Belgium

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BMC Public Health