Authors:Jonkman NH, van Schooten KS, Maier AB, Pijnappels M.
eHealth solutions are increasingly being applied to deliver interventions for promoting an active lifestyle in the general population but also in older people. Objective assessment of daily physical activity (PA) is essential to accurately and reliably evaluate the effectiveness of such interventions. This review presents an overview of eHealth interventions that focus on promoting PA in community-dwelling older people, and discusses the methods used to objectively assess PA, and the effectiveness of the eHealth interventions in increasing PA. The twelve eHealth intervention studies that met our inclusion criteria used a variety of digital solutions, ranging from solely the use of an accelerometer or text messages, to interactive websites with access to (animated) coaches and peer support. Besides evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention on objectively assessed PA, all interventions also included continuous self-monitoring of PA as part of the intervention. Procedures for the collection and analysis of PA data varied across studies; five studies used pedometers to objectively assess PA and seven used tri-axial accelerometers. Main reported outcomes were daily step counts and minutes spent on PA. The current evidence seems to point to a positive short-term effect of increased PA (i.e. right after administering the intervention), but evidence for long-term effects is lacking. Many studies were underpowered to detect any intervention effects, and therefore larger studies with longer follow-up are needed to provide evidence on sustaining the PA increases that follow eHealth interventions in older people.