Timothy A. Poulton

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Publications (2)2.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Engaging in regular physical activity can be challenging, particularly during the winter months. To promote physical activity at the University of Michigan during the winter months, an eight-week Internet-mediated program (Active U) was developed providing participants with an online physical activity log, goal setting, motivational emails, and optional team participation and competition. This study is a program evaluation of Active U. Approximately 47,000 faculty, staff, and graduate students were invited to participate in the online Active U intervention in the winter of 2007. Participants were assigned a physical activity goal and were asked to record each physical activity episode into the activity log for eight weeks. Statistics for program reach, effectiveness, adoption, and implementation were calculated using the Re-Aim framework. Multilevel regression analyses were used to assess the decline in rates of data entry and goal attainment during the program, to assess the likelihood of joining a team by demographic characteristics, to test the association between various predictors and the number of weeks an individual met his or her goal, and to analyze server load. Overall, 7,483 individuals registered with the Active U website ( approximately 16% of eligible), and 79% participated in the program by logging valid data at least once. Staff members, older participants, and those with a BMI < 25 were more likely to meet their weekly physical activity goals, and average rate of meeting goals was higher among participants who joined a competitive team compared to those who participated individually (IRR = 1.28, P < .001). Internet-mediated physical activity interventions that focus on physical activity logging and goal setting while incorporating team competition may help a significant percentage of the target population maintain their physical activity during the winter months.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · BMC Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: Internet-mediated interventions aimed at increasing physical activity are becoming increasingly popular; however, little is known about their effectiveness. Active U is an eight-week automated Internet-mediated physical activity intervention that incorporates physical activity tracking, team competition, motivational emails, and goal setting to promote physical activity. Participants joined Active U as an individual or as a member of a competitive team. This study sought to determine whether or not participation on a team increased individual success with the program. The Active U intervention recruited 7,520 graduate students, staff, and faculty members from the University of Michigan during the winter of 2007 through an intensive publicity campaign. Zero inflated Poisson regression models with two different outcomes were developed: the number of weeks that physical activity was entered into the Active U tracker and the number of weeks that physical activity goals were met. Overall, 5,166 participants (69%) used the physical activity tracker at least once during the intervention. Individuals who joined competitive teams were more likely to use the physical activity tracker (IRR=1.27, p<.001). In addition, participants on competitive teams were less likely to never have met their weekly goals than those who did not join teams (OR=0.37, p<.001). Finally, individuals on teams with 10 to 14 members met their goals more often than participants on either smaller or larger teams (IRR=1.20, p=.012). Thus, individuals who participate in team competitions in an Internet-mediated physical activity program, particularly teams of 10 to 14 participants, have better outcomes than those participating individually.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2008