Behavioral and Social Approaches to Increase Physical Activity: Individually-Adapted Health Behavior Change Programs
Individually-adapted health behavior change programs to increase physical activity teach behavioral skills to help participants incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. The programs are tailored to each individual’s specific interests, preferences, and readiness for change.
These programs teach behavioral skills such as:
- Goal-setting and self-monitoring of progress toward those goals
- Building social support for new behaviors
- Behavioral reinforcement through self-reward and positive self-talk
- Structured problem solving to maintain the behavior change
- Prevention of relapse into sedentary behavior
Summary of Task Force Recommendations & Findings
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends implementing individually-adapted health behavior change programs based on strong evidence of their effectiveness in increasing physical activity and improving physical fitness among adults and children.
Results from the Systematic Reviews
Eighteen studies qualified for review.
- In all 18 studies reviewed, individually-adapted health behavior change programs were effective in increasing physical activity as measured by various indicators.
- Time spent in physical activity: median net increase of 35.4% (interquartile interval: 16.7% to 83.3%; 20 study arms)
- Aerobic capacity (VO2 max): median increase of 6.3% (interquartile interval: 5.1% to 9.8%; 13 study arms)
- Energy expenditure: median increase of 64.3% (interquartile interval: 31.2% to 85.5%; 15 study arms)
- Other measures of physical activity, such as the percentage of people starting exercise programs and the frequency of physical activity, also increased as a result of these programs.
- These interventions were effective among both men and women and in a variety of settings, including communities, worksites, and schools.
- If appropriately adapted to the target populations, these interventions should be applicable to diverse settings and groups.
These results were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to physical activity.
Kahn EB, Ramsey LT, Brownson R, et al. The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity: a systematic review. [PDF - 3.14MB] Am J Prev Med 2002;22(4S):73-107.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to increase physical activity in communities. [PDF - 70KB] Am J Prev Med 2002;22 (4S):67-72.
CDC. Increasing physical activity. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2001;50 (RR-18):1-16.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Physical activity. [PDF - 302KB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:80-113.
More Community Guide publications about Promoting Physical Activity
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Behavioral and social approaches to increase physical activity: individually-adapted health behavior change programs. www.thecommunityguide.org/pa/behavioral-social/individuallyadapted.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: February 2001
- Page last reviewed: February 7, 2011
- Page last updated: December 21, 2011
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services