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Title: Rural Environments and Community Health (REACH): A randomised controlled trial protocol for an online walking intervention in rural adults
Authors: Mitchell, B. L.
Lewis, N. R.
Smith, A. E.
Rowlands, Alexander V.
Parfitt, G.
Dollman, J.
First Published: 18-Sep-2014
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd
Citation: BMC Public Health, 2014, 14 (1), 969
Abstract: Background: Rural Australian adults are continually shown to be insufficiently active with higher prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases associated with physical inactivity compared to urban adults. This may, partly, be attributable to the challenges associated with implementing community-based physical activity programs in rural communities. There is a need for broadly accessible physical activity programs specifically tailored to the unique attributes of rural communities. The aim of the Rural Environments And Community Health (REACH) study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an online-delivered physical activity intervention for increasing regular walking among adults living in rural areas of South Australia. Methods/Design: This is a randomised controlled trial. The intervention is 12-weeks with a 12-month follow-up. Participants will be insufficiently active, aged 18 to 70 years and randomly assigned to either Control or Intervention group. Participants receive a pedometer, but only the Intervention group will receive access to the purpose built REACH website where they will report steps taken, affect and ratings of perceived exertion during daily walking. These variables will be used to establish individualised step goals for increasing walking. Control participants will receive a paper diary to record their variables and generic incremental step goals. The primary outcome measures are time spent in sedentary, light and moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, measured by accelerometry. Secondary outcomes include 1) health measures (anthropometric and physiological), 2) psychological well-being, 3) diet quality, and 4) correlates of physical activity (exercise self-efficacy and physical activity environments). Measures will be collected at baseline, post-intervention, 6-month and 12-month follow-up. Discussion: This protocol describes the implementation of a trial testing the effectiveness of an online resource designed to assist rural Australians to become more physically active. The outcomes of this study will guide the efforts of health promotion professionals by providing evidence for a relatively inexpensive, widely accessible and effective method for increasing physical activity that can be utilized by anyone with access to the internet. Findings may indicate future directions for the implementation of physical activity and other health related interventions in rural communities. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTR12614000927628 (registered 28 August 2014).
DOI Link: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-969
eISSN: 1471-2458
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014 Mitchell et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology

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