Systematic reviews have identified a range of brief interventions which increase physical activity in previously sedentary people. A randomised controlled trial is needed to assess whether providing motivational interviewing, three months after giving initial advice, sustains physical activity levels in those who recently became physically active. This paper reports the results of an internal pilot study designed to test the feasibility of the study in terms of recruitment, per protocol delivery of the intervention and retention at three months.
Participants were: aged 40-64 years; resident in deprived areas of Sheffield, UK; and, had recently become physically active as a result of using a brief intervention following an invitation from a mass mailout. Interventions: Motivational Interviewing ‘boosters’ aimed at sustaining change in physical activity status delivered face-to-face or over the telephone compared with no further intervention. Outcomes of the feasibility study: recruitment of 60 participants from mailout of 3,300; retention of 45 participants with 3-month follow-up accelerometry measurements; 70% of those randomised to boosters receiving intervention per protocol. Sample size and power were recalculated using the accelerometry data collected.
Forty-seven participants were randomised (78% of the feasibility target); 37 participants were retained at three months, 29 with at least four days of accelerometry data (64% of the feasibility target); 79% of those allocated boosters received them per protocol (surpassing the feasibility target). The proposed sample size of 600 was confirmed as appropriate and power is expected to be sufficient to detect a difference between groups.
The main study will continue with the original recruitment target of 600 participants but to ensure feasibility, it is necessary to increase recruitment and improve the numbers of those followed-up who have evaluable data. Strategies will include increasing the number of initial invitations sent out and improving the training of research assistants and participants in the positioning of the accelerometer.