Background. Both self-help print materials and telephone-assisted counseling have generally proved useful strategies to increase physical activity. This study examined their effectiveness in an intervention aimed specifically at promoting walking for specific purposes.
Methods. Participants (n = 399) were randomly allocated to one of two 3-week intervention programs. The Print program comprised multiple mailing of brochures that emphasized walking within the local community environments. The Print plus Telephone program received the same brochures plus three telephone calls. Data collected via mailed self-completed surveys were analyzed by exploring outcomes related to walking for specific purposes.
Results. There were no significant differences between the two programs in any of the walking measures. Both groups significantly increased time reported walking for exercise per week [Print: t(1,277) = −3.50, P < 0.001; Print plus telephone: t(1,106) = −2.44, P < 0.016]. Significantly, more participants in the Print plus Telephone group reported receiving and reading the materials (χ2 = 20.11, P < 0.0001). Conclusions. The intervention programs were more successful at increasing walking for exercise than for any other purpose. The addition of brief telephone support was successful in focusing participants' attention on the print materials, but did not result in any additional increase in walking.
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