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Table 1 Characteristics and outcomes of the reviewed studies

From: A systematic review of financial incentives given in the healthcare setting; do they effectively improve physical activity levels?

Author, year Setting Study design & study population Intervention Outcome measures Results
Harland et al., 1999 [20] GP practice in a socio-economically disadvantaged area. RCT 523 adults aged 40–64 years: C: n = 105 I1: n = 105 I2: n = 106 I3: n = 104 I4: n = 103 C • Baseline body measurements and information about PA. I1 • Baseline body measurements and information about PA. • Brief motivational interviewing (n = 1) during 12 weeks intervention period. I2 • Baseline body measurements and information about PA. • Brief motivational interviewing (n = 1) during 12 weeks intervention period. • 30 vouchers, each for one episode of aerobic activities, at local leisure center or swimming-pool. I3 • Baseline body measurements and information about PA. • Extended motivational interviewing (n = 6) during 12 weeks intervention period. I4 • Baseline body measurements and information about PA. • Extended motivational interviewing (n = 6) during 12 weeks intervention period. • 30 vouchers, each for one episode of aerobic activities, at local leisure center or swimming pool. • Self-reported physical activity (shortened version of the National Fitness Survey questionnaire). 12 weeks: • No significant effect on PA was found due to the introduction of vouchers or more than one interview. • Significant interaction between providing vouchers and more than one interview: the highest proportion of participants with increased physical activity scores was in the group offered both multiple interviews and vouchers. • Proportion of participants with an improvement on vigorous activity or moderate activity was significantly higher for all intervention groups combined compared to the control group. • No significant effect within the intervention groups due to interviews, vouchers or interactions between them for vigorous or moderate activity. 12 months: • Increases in PA reported at 12 weeks by participants in all intervention groups were not maintained at one year, regardless of the intensity of the intervention.
Duggins et al., 2010 [19] Family Medicine Clinics and specialized Pediatrics clinics with patients that represented a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. RCT 83 children aged 5–17 years, with BMI at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex: C: n = 39 I: n = 44 C • 4 dietician-led nutrition classes (over a 9 months period), discussing diet, nutrition, eating habits and meal planning. In addition, written materials (handbook) were provided. I • 4 dietician-led nutrition classes (over a 9 months period), discussing diet, nutrition, eating habits and meal planning. In addition, written materials (handbook) were provided. • Free 1-year family membership to local YMCA, providing access to all activities, such as swimming, water aerobics, a track for walking or jogging and weights in a variety of sizes. Patients were asked to complete a diary of activities and were reinforced by study staff. • Year change in BMI-for-age percentile and weight loss 12 months: • No significant differences between groups were found in BMI or change in weight. • The relationship between the number of visits to the YMCA and the loss of either BMI or weight was positive, but very small and not statistically significant.
Islam, 2013 [21] Rubicon Centre, a facility that provides residential care facility that provides treatment for women with substance abuse disorder RCT 22 women aged at least 18 years old, who have used cocaine regularly in her lifetime, be approved for 60 days of residential treatment at Rubicon and received medical clearance from the physician to participate: C: n = 10 I: n = 12 C • Three core exercise sessions scheduled weekly for six weeks, with the opportunity to engage in additional exercise. I • Three core exercise sessions scheduled weekly for six weeks, with the opportunity to engage in additional exercise. • Participants had the opportunity to draw tokens from a prize gym bag if they met the target of 30 min of observed treadmill walking at any intensity. Every time a participant completed the 30 min at a level, she received an escalating number of prize draws. Escalation resumed from baseline (two draws) until the participant completed three consecutive sessions that met the completion of 30 min of exercise criteria. At that time, the number of draws returned to the level achieved prior to reset. Participants received bonus draws if they completed moderate exercise up to 3 times a week. • Compliance • Anthropometric measurements (BMI and WHR) • Attitudes about exercise (ECS,EBBS and IPAQ-S) • Physical activity levels 6 weeks: • No significant differences were found in minutes spent in exercise sessions, number of completed scheduled 30-min exercise sessions, number of consecutive exercise sessions. • No differences over time were found for both intervention- and control group in BMI and WHR. • No differences over time were found for both intervention- and control group on patients’ attitudes about exercise and in the perception of individuals concerning the benefits of and participating in exercise. • No differences over time were found between intervention- and control group in physical activity levels
  1. Abbreviations used: BMI Body Mass Index; C control group; EBBS Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale; ECS Exercise Confidence Scale; GP general practitioner; I intervention group; IPAQ-S International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short; PA physical activity; RCT Randomized Controlled Trial; YMCA Young Men’s Christian Association; WHR Waist-to-hip ratio