A review of the effectiveness of physical activity interventions for adult males

Emma S. George, Gregory S. Kolt, Mitch J. Duncan, Cristina M. Caperchione, W. Kerry Mummery, Corneel Vandelanotte, Pennie Taylor, Manny Noakes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

57 Citations (Scopus)


Physical inactivity is one of the main modifiable risk factors for a range of noncommunicable diseases. Of particular interest are adult males, a hard-to-reach population group for health promotion interventions. The purpose of this review is to provide a critical evaluation of the published health-related physical activity interventions that have targeted adult males.A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, CINAHL®, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, and SPORTDiscus™ was conducted for intervention studies published in English, between January 1990 and August 2010. Studies including community-dwelling adult men (≥18 years), or including both males and females where data on male participants could be extracted and examined, were included in this review. Studies assessing changes in levels of physical activity, physical fitness or changes in biomarkers of disease risk relevant to physical activity (e.g. body weight, waist circumference, lipids, blood pressure) were the primary focus.A total of 14 studies focusing on physical activity only and nine combined physical activity and nutrition studies were also included in this review. Ten of the 14 physical activity only studies and four of the nine combined physical activity and nutrition studies demonstrated significant increases in physical activity outcomes. Face-to-face, group-based and print-based methods were most commonly employed in these interventions. Within each mode of delivery, a number of elements including regular feedback, access to self-monitoring tools, elements of social support, variety in activities and a degree of friendly competition, were revealed as positive inclusions for this population group.Males are generally under-represented in health-promotion interventions and should therefore be targeted specifically, and while results of the included studies are encouraging, there is a lack of intervention studies targeting adult males. Further research into this population group is therefore required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2012


  • Adults
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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