Preprint has been published in a journal as an article
DOI of the published article 10.1123/jpah.2019-0349
Preprint / Version 1

Effectiveness of Structured Physical Activity (PA) Interventions through the evaluation of PA levels, Adoption, Retention, Maintenance and Adherence Rate

A Systematic Review


  • Nadja Willinger
  • James Steele
  • Lou Atkinson
  • Gary Liguori
  • Alfonso Jimenez
  • Steve Mann
  • Elizabeth Horton



behaviour change techniques, dropout, efficacy, feasibility, structured physical activity intervention


Background: Structured physical activity (PA) interventions can potentially be implemented in a variety of facilities, and therefore can reach a large proportion of the population. The effectiveness of interventions is historically evaluated through examination of group differences in outcome measures. Often the proportions of individuals meeting thresholds for PA outcomes related to intervention implementation are not considered. Our aim was to summarise the effectiveness of structured interventions through reported group differences in outcomes, adoption and maintenance rates, and adherence and retention rates, providing information on intervention feasibility. Methods: Database screening resulted in the inclusion of 12 interventions. Results: There was a tendency for structured programmes to result in a significantly greater increase in PA levels than the control conditions in the short-term, with more varying results in the long-term. Only 3 studies published adoption and maintenance rates. On average 67±16% of participants were reported as adopting PA, with only 29±13% maintaining this effect. A mean retention rate of 75±13% was observed, and 61±21% of intervention sessions were attended as described through adherence rates. Conclusion: Structured interventions were classified as overall effective in short-term on the basis of group differences in PA levels; however, adoption and maintenance rates were rarely reported.