Promoting physical activity in worksite settings: results of a German pilot study of the online intervention Healingo fit

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Background: Worldwide, one third of the adult population is insufficiently physically active. This fact has led to a strong demand for public health initiatives. Given the mixed evidence on the effectiveness of worksite interventions promoting physical activity (PA), a pedometer-based and gamified intervention, Healingo Fit, was developed and evaluated over a period of six weeks. Methods: The effectiveness of Healingo Fit was evaluated as part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with two measurement points involving employees of an automobile manufacturer. Direct health promotion outcomes were assessed using self-developed items on PA knowledge, the HAPA brief scales and the exercise self-efficacy scale. IPAQ short version was used to assess different forms of PA behavior. Intervention effects were identified using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measurements. Results: A total of 144 participants took part in the study (intervention group = 80, control group = 64). The results of the ANOVA show significant interaction effects (group x time) for health promotion outcomes (knowledge, intention, and self-efficacy), with medium to high effect sizes. In the health behavior related outcomes, there were significant improvements, with large effect sizes for low levels of PA, but not for moderate and high PA. Walking time increased by 125 min/week in the intervention group, corresponding to a percentage increase of 30% compared to baseline. Conclusions: Pedometer-based interventions using gamification elements can have positive effects not only on health promotion parameters but can also lead to an increase in PA behavior. The online format of Healingo Fit is suitable for reaching large numbers of people and achieving population effects. Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS): DRKS00006105, date of registration: 2017-03-24.

Original languageEnglish
Article number696
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.09.2017

Bibliographical note

This study is funded by the European Funds for Regional Development and by the Federal State of Lower Saxony within the framework of the Innovation Incubator at the Leuphana University Lueneburg.