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P26 Exploring the acceptability and feasibility of using activity monitors to support increased physical activity within an exercise referral scheme for adults with, or at risk of, a chronic health condition
  1. MJ Kelson1,
  2. J Hawkins2,
  3. M Edwards3,
  4. L McConnon4,
  5. B Hallingberg4,
  6. E Oliver5,
  7. J Charles6,
  8. R Tudor Edwards6,
  9. S Murphy4,
  10. S Simpson7
  1. 1Department of Statistical Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  2. 2School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  3. 3School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  4. 4Decipher, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  5. 5Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University, Durham, UK
  6. 6Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation, Bangor University, Bangor, UK
  7. 7MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK


Background Whilst there is evidence for initial effectiveness of exercise referral schemes for increasing physical activity, evidence of long-term effects is limited. In Wales, a trial of the National Exercise Referral Scheme [NERS] showed small but significant impacts on physical activity at 12-month follow-up. Technologies such as activity monitors may enhance long-term maintenance of activity by facilitating goal setting and progress monitoring and supporting intrinsic motivation. This pilot trial explored the acceptability and feasibility of implementing accelerometry-based activity monitors within NERS.

Methods New NERS participants (mean age=57, 65% female) were randomised to receive either an activity monitor alongside NERS (n=88) or usual practice (n=68). Participants completed questionnaires at baseline, 16-weeks and 52-weeks. Twenty intervention participants and 12 NERS staff completed interviews at 4-weeks and 52-weeks.

Results Findings suggest that participant experiences of utilising the activity monitors were mixed. Approximately half of participants reported that the devices were easy to use (49%) and met their expectations (57%). In interviews, some participants reported that the monitors helped them to become more aware of their physical activity levels and increased their motivation. Barriers to acceptability included general and device-specific wearability and technological problems, such as device malfunctioning and computer compatibility issues. Staff also reported device- and context specific technological barriers to implementing the monitors alongside usual practice.

Conclusion Whilst some findings were device-specific, there are broader lessons for future research and practice incorporating activity monitoring devices into physical activity interventions such as implications for delivery staff time and training.

  • Physical activity
  • Accelerometry
  • Exercise referral scheme

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