gms | German Medical Science

Kongress Medizin und Gesellschaft 2007

17. bis 21.09.2007, Augsburg

Long-term effectiveness of interventions promoting uptake and maintenance of physical activity behaviour: a systematic review

Meeting Abstract

  • Falk Müller-Riemenschneider - Charité- Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
  • Thomas Reinhold - Charité- Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
  • Marc Nocon - Charité- Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
  • Stefan Willich - Charité- Universitätsmedizin, Berlin

Kongress Medizin und Gesellschaft 2007. Augsburg, 17.-21.09.2007. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2007. Doc07gmds286

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 6, 2007

© 2007 Müller-Riemenschneider et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: The positive effects of moderate physical activity levels on health and mortality when performed on a regular basis have been well established. Despite this knowledge, sedentary life style is increasingly common in industrialised countries. Attempts to increase physical activity behaviour among healthy adults have therefore been numerous in the past. However, there remains uncertainty regarding the long-term effectiveness of physical activity interventions.

Objective: To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of physical activity interventions targeted at healthy adults and to identify effective intervention components.

Design: Systematic Review

Methods: To identify relevant current literature, a structured search of electronic databases (Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Psycinfo) from January 2001 to June 2006 was conducted. Two researchers independently assessed publications according to pre-defined inclusion criteria and with regard to study methodology. Study characteristics and pre-defined outcome measures were extracted and summarised.

Results: Among 4,887 identified publications were 18 RCTs investigating 26 intervention strategies relevant to the research question and meeting the inclusion criteria. There was substantial heterogeneity in study quality, intervention strategies and intervention effects. Compared to usual and guideline based care, intervention strategies achieved gains in weekly energy expenditure and physical fitness of up to 975kcal and 17%, respectively. Repeat interventions or booster strategies were used in 17 studies to maintain increased levels of physical activity.

Discussion: There was evidence for substantial increases in levels of physical activity as well as physical fitness associated with current intervention strategies. To improve uptake of physical activity, exercise prescription according to target heart rate zones seemed most promising.