Recruitment, screening, and baseline participant characteristics in the WALK 2.0 study: A randomized controlled trial using Web 2.0 applications to promote physical activity


Objective: To describe in detail the recruitment methods and participation rates, the screening methods, and the baseline characteristics of a diverse sample of inactive adults participating in the Walk 2.0 Study, a 3-arm randomized controlled trial of a Web 2.0 based physical activity intervention. Methods: A two-fold recruitment plan was developed and implemented, including a direct mail-out to an extract from the Australian Electoral Commission electoral roll, and other supplementary methods including email and telephone and a study awareness advertising campaign. Physical activity screening involved two steps: a validated single-item self-report instrument and the follow-up Active Australia Questionnaire. Readiness for physical activity participation was also based on a two-step process of administering the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire and, where needed, further clearance from a medical practitioner. Results: Across all recruitment methods, a total of 1,244 participants were recruited for initial screening, of which 656 were deemed eligible. Of these, 506 were later enrolled in the Walk 2.0 trial (77% enrollment rate) and randomized to the Walk 2.0 group (n = 168), the Walk 1.0 group (n = 165), or the control group (n = 173). Conclusion: The results of this recruitment process demonstrate the successful use of multiple strategies to obtain a diverse sample of inactive adults eligible to take part in a web-based physical activity promotion intervention. The use of dual screening processes ensured safe participation in the intervention. This approach to recruitment and physical activity screening can be used as a model for further trials in this area.

Acknowledgments: This trial is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Project number #589903). Duncan and Vandelanotte are supported by Future Leader Fellowships from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.