CQUniversity Australia

Last chance to join trial to test web intervention for better health 

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There are still places for people in Central Queensland wishing to join a new clinical trial to assess how effectively web-based interventions increase your physical activity and improve your health.

The Walk 2.0 project, conducted by CQUniversity and the University of Western Sydney, is now recruiting adults from Central Queensland who will each receive a pedometer to track the number of steps they take each day.

The research team have used the latest web 2.0 tools and apps to create a dedicated website to assist those participating in the trial keep track of and communicate their physical activity with other users. The website also allows participants with low levels of physical activity to access information to help them become more active .  The effectiveness of the new site will be tested against an existing, conventional (web 1.0) physical activity site and a group who use a paper based log book to record and track their activity.

Key body measurements for all participants, such as waist circumference and weight, will be recorded by the researchers at the start of the trial and then again at 3, 12, and 24 months.

CQUniversity researcher on the Walk 2.0 project, Dr. Mitch Duncan, says the research will focus on walking and other incidental activities because they are relatively safe and easily accessible for most people.

"When it comes to improving your health, walking works," says Dr. Duncan, a research fellow with the Centre for Physical Activity Studies, "But the challenge has been motivating people to do it."

Despite many health campaigns physical inactivity continues to contribute to ill health by increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

"More than half of the Australian population do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.  Yet there is the potential for new technology such as smart phones and cheaper internet access for the home computer to help people take charge of their health," says Dr. Corneel Vandelanotte, another member of the CQUniversity team who's research is focussed on how to effectively use the internet to help people become more healthy.

"The web has the potential to reach large groups of people and can provide health information when and where they need it.  There is a proliferation of websites, blog sites and smart phone apps devoted to health and fitness. Some help users track their physical activity and visually represent their achievements.  However there's been little research on how effectively websites and applications motivate users to keep exercising and fundamentally change their behaviour."

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC), is recruiting participants from Central Queensland.

The study is accessible for all those interested in getting some support and help to become more active. So,if you are currently not very active and would like to participate in the Walk 2.0 trial contact Cindy Hooker, Project Manager on 07 4930 6537 or walk@cqu.edu.au or visit the trial web page: http://www.walk.org.au/recruit.