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Moderators of theory-based interventions to promote physical activity in 77 randomizedd controlled trials.

Bernard P., Carayol M., Gourlan M., Boiché J., Romain AJ., Bortolon C., Ninot G.

Health Education & Behaviors, 2016. doi:10.1177/1090198116648667

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has recently showed that theory-based interventions designed to promote physical activity (PA) significantly increased PA behavior. The objective of the present study was to investigate the moderators of the efficacy of these theory-based interventions. Seventy-seven RCTs evaluating theory-based interventions were systematically identified. Sample, intervention, methodology, and theory implementation characteristics were extracted, coded by three duos of independent investigators, and tested as moderators of interventions effect in a multiple-meta-regression model. Three moderators were negatively associated with the efficacy of theory-based interventions on PA behavior: intervention length (≥14 weeks; β = -.22, p = .004), number of experimental patients (β = -.10, p = .002), and global methodological quality score (β = -.08, p = .04). Our findings suggest that the efficacy of theory-based interventions to promote PA could be overestimated consequently due to methodological weaknesses of RCTs and that interventions shorter than 14 weeks could maximize the increase of PA behavior.