Effectiveness of a web- and mobile phone-based intervention to promote physical activity and healthy eating in middle-Aged males: Randomized controlled trial of the manup study

Mitch Duncan, Corneel Vandelanotte, Gregory S. Kolt, Richard R. Rosenkranz, Cristina M. Caperchione, Emma S. George, Hang Ding, Cindy Hooker, Mohan Karunanithi, Anthony J. Maeder, Manny Noakes, Rhys Tague, Pennie Taylor, Pierre Viljoen, W. Kerry Mummery

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84 Citations (Scopus)


The high number of adult males engaging in low levels of physical activity and poor dietary practices, and the health risks posed by these behaviors, necessitate broad-reaching intervention strategies. Information technology (IT)-based (Web and mobile phone) interventions can be accessed by large numbers of people, yet there are few reported IT-based interventions targeting males' physical activity and dietary practices. Objective: This study examines the effectiveness of a 9-month IT-based intervention (ManUp) to improve the physical activity, dietary behaviors, and health literacy in middle-Aged males compared to a print-based intervention. Methods: Participants, recruited offline (eg, newspaper ads), were randomized into either an IT-based or print-based intervention arm on a 2:1 basis in favor of the fully automated IT-based arm. Participants were adult males aged 35-54 years living in 2 regional cities in Queensland, Australia, who could access the Internet, owned a mobile phone, and were able to increase their activity level. The intervention, ManUp, was based on social cognitive and self-regulation theories and specifically designed to target males. Educational materials were provided and self-monitoring of physical activity and nutrition behaviors was promoted. Intervention content was the same in both intervention arms; only the delivery mode differed. Content could be accessed throughout the 9-month study period. Participants'physical activity, dietary behaviors, and health literacy were measured using online surveys at baseline, 3 months, and 9 months. Results: A total of 301 participants completed baseline assessments, 205 in the IT-based arm and 96 in the print-based arm. A total of 124 participants completed all 3 assessments. There were no significant between-group differences in physical activity and dietary behaviors (P=.05). Participants reported an increased number of minutes and sessions of physical activity at 3 months (exp(β)=1.45, 95% CI 1.09-1.95; exp(β)=1.61, 95% CI 1.17-2.22) and 9 months (exp(β)=1.55, 95% CI 1.14-2.10; exp(β)=1.51, 95% CI 1.15-2.00). Overall dietary behaviors improved at 3 months (exp(β)=1.07, 95% CI 1.03-1.11) and 9 months (exp(β)=1.10, 95% CI 1.05-1.13). The proportion of participants in both groups eating higher-fiber bread and low-fat milk increased at 3 months (exp(β)=2.25, 95% CI 1.29-3.92; exp(β)=1.65, 95% CI 1.07-2.55). Participants in the IT-based arm were less likely to report that 30 minutes of physical activity per day improves health (exp(β)=0.48, 95% CI 0.26-0.90) and more likely to report that vigorous intensity physical activity 3 times per week is essential (exp(β)=1.70, 95% CI 1.02-2.82). The average number of log-ins to the IT platform at 3 and 9 months was 6.99 (SE 0.86) and 9.22 (SE 1.47), respectively. The average number of self-monitoring entries at 3 and 9 months was 16.69 (SE 2.38) and 22.51 (SE 3.79), respectively. Conclusions: The ManUp intervention was effective in improving physical activity and dietary behaviors in middle-Aged males with no significant differences between IT- and print-based delivery modes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere136
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Diet
  • Mobile phone
  • Physical activity
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Web-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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