Objective: To determine whether adding web-based support (e-coachER) to an exercise referral scheme (ERS) increases objectively assessed physical activity (PA).
Design: Multicentre trial with participants randomised to usual ERS alone (control) or usual ERS plus e-coachER (intervention).
Setting: Primary care and ERS in 3 UK sites from 2015- 2018. Participants: 450 inactive ERS referees with obesity, hypertension, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, lower limb osteoarthritis, or a history of depression. Interventions: Participants received a pedometer, PA recording sheets, and a User Guide for the web-based support. e-coachER interactively encouraged the use of the ERS and other PA options.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was objective moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes (in ≥10 minute bouts) after 12 months.
Secondary outcomes were: other accelerometer-derived and self-reported PA measures, ERS attendance, EQ-5D-5L, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and beliefs about PA. All outcomes were collected at baseline, 4 and 12 months. Primary analysis was an intention to treat comparison between intervention and control arms at 12 months follow up.
Results: There was no significant effect of the intervention on weekly 10-minute bouts of MVPA at 12 months between the groups (mean difference 11.8 minutes of MVPA, 95% CI -2.1 to 26.0; p = 0.10) for 232 participants with usable data. There was no difference in the primary or secondary PA outcomes at 4 or 12 months.
Conclusion: Augmenting ERS referrals with web-based behavioural support had only a weak, nonsignificant effect on MVPA.
Trial registration: ISRCTN15644451
This report presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views and opinions expressed by authors in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NHS, the NIHR, NETSCC, the HTA programme or the Department of Health and Social Care. If there are verbatim quotations included in this publication the views and opinions expressed by the interviewees are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect those of the authors, those of the NHS, the NIHR, NETSCC, the HTA programme or the Department of Health and Social Care.
- Physical and Mental Health
- diabetes mellitus type 2
- physical activity