ball-cananincentive-2017.pdf (648 kB)
Download file

Can an incentive-based intervention increase physical activity and reduce sitting among adults? The ACHIEVE (Active Choices IncEntiVE) feasibility study

Download (648 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kylie BallKylie Ball, R F Hunter, Jaimie-Lee Maple, Marj MoodieMarj Moodie, Jo SalmonJo Salmon, K-L Ong, Lena StephensLena Stephens, Michelle JacksonMichelle Jackson, David CrawfordDavid Crawford
BACKGROUND: Despite recent interest in the potential of incentivisation as a strategy for motivating healthier behaviors, little remains known about the effectiveness of incentives in promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior, and improving associated health outcomes. This pre-post-test design study investigated the feasibility, appeal and effects of providing non-financial incentives for promoting increased physical activity, reduced sedentary time, and reduced body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure among inactive middle-aged adults. METHODS: Inactive men (n = 36) and women (n = 46) aged 40-65 years were recruited via a not-for-profit insurance fund and participated in a 4 month pre-post design intervention. Baseline and post-intervention data were collected on self-reported physical activity and sitting time (IPAQ-Long), BMI and blood pressure. Participants were encouraged to increase physical activity to 150 mins/week and reduce sedentary behavior by 150 mins/week in progressive increments. Incentives included clothing, recipe books, store gift vouchers, and a chance to win one of four Apple iPad Mini devices. The incentive component of the intervention was supported by an initial motivational interview and text messaging to encourage participants and provide strategies to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors. RESULTS: Only two participants withdrew during the program, demonstrating the feasibility of recruiting and retaining inactive middle-aged participants. While two-thirds of the sample qualified for the easiest physical activity incentive (by demonstrating 100 mins physical activity/week or 100 mins reduced sitting time/week), only one third qualified for the most challenging incentive. Goals to reduce sitting appeared more challenging, with 43% of participants qualifying for the first incentive, but only 20% for the last incentive. More men than women qualified for most incentives. Mean leisure-time physical activity increased by 252 mins/week (leisure-time), with 65% of the sample achieving at least 150 mins/week; and sitting time decreased by 3.1 h/day (both p < 0.001) between baseline and follow-up. BMI, systolic and diastolic (men only) blood pressure all significantly decreased. Most participants (50-85%) reported finding the incentives and other program components helpful/motivating. CONCLUSIONS: Acknowledging the uncontrolled design, the large pre-post changes in behavioral and health-related outcomes suggest that the ACHIEVE incentives-based behavior change program represents a promising approach for promoting physical activity and reducing sitting, and should be tested in a randomized controlled trial.



International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity



Article number



1 - 10


BioMed Central


London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2017, The Authors