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Table 6 Conclusions from each review about physical activity

From: How explicable are differences between reviews that appear to address a similar research question? A review of reviews of physical activity interventions

Review Conclusions about overall effectiveness Conclusions regarding effectiveness among any subgroups Conclusions about the quality of evidence contained in each review Explanation of the findings in each review Conclusions about the future directions of the field
Dobbins and Beyers, 1999 [12] ‘Heart health interventions not likely to produce statistically significant effects on increasing the percentage of the population who are regularly physically active, or in decreasing the percentage of the population who are physically inactive’ We do not know if heart health interventions had an impact on specific groups of people. There is some to suggest effectiveness for high-risk populations The community-based heart health literature is methodologically strong, although complex and conflicting Populations might be growing more physically active regardless of community heart health interventions. Lack of statistically significant results might be due partly to design and measurement We should examine the differences in the strategies used by those projects that found a positive effect and those that did not. More research is needed, especially on populations at high risk for low physical activity
Fogelholm & Lahti-Koski, 2002 [16] The results on physical activity were positive in most studies but the effects on body weight were disappointing There was a lack of evidence on important subgroups. Potential subgroup targets could be people of lower socioeconomic status, minority groups and older adults No conclusion Secular trends in healthier dietary choices and smoking cessation could dilute and confound effects. Lack of clear intervention effects could be due to methodological problems or to the cardiovascular disease focus of included studies Future interventions should use components from previous interventions with a much stronger emphasis on physical and social environment. Also need national legislative policies
Jackson et al., 2005a [15] Lack of evidence Lack of evidence No evidence found Not possible due to lack of evidence Future research in this area should be rigorously designed and evaluated. Many recommendations made
Jackson et al., healthy behavior change [14] Lack of evidence Lack of evidence No evidence found Not possible due to lack of evidence Future research in this area should be rigorously designed and evaluated. Many recommendations made
King, 1998 [17] Author’s position not clear. States that community coalition is a useful first step and physical activity should be made a focal point for intervention Mass media interventions may need to target specific subgroups No conclusion Authors position not clear The most exciting future prospect is social and environmental interventions
Murphy and Bauman, 2007 [13] Much rhetoric but limited evidence of effectiveness of mass sporting events to increase physical activity No conclusions Few quality intervention evaluations in this field Lack of evidence might be due to lack of coordination between organizers of mass sporting events and public health agencies and there are methodological difficulties which may make impacts hard to measure Future mass events should include integrated and multi-sectoral physical activity and related planning and commit to investment in research for a better evidence base
Pate, 2000 [18] Community based strategies to promote proper diet and physical activity ‘somewhat effective’ at improving physical activity behavior No conclusions There are many gaps in evidence Author’s position not clear. Implies that better research would demonstrate effectiveness More research is needed, especially work that links community-based initiatives to school-based interventions […] and strategies to involve multiple segments of the community. Makes detailed research recommendations
Sharpe, 2003 [19] Author’s position not clear. Interventions have ‘value’ in promoting physical activity for arthritis and related disability. Important to create a supportive community environment with safe, accessible, and pleasant options Market segmentation and tailoring to subgroups is essential (subgroups by location, ethnicity, income, age, sex, health status) No conclusions Author’s position not clear. Implies that there are differences between short and long term effects and enhanced by good assessment of community needs Need for creating a linkage between successful person-focused, community-based programs for persons with arthritis and other broader- interventions targeting environmental and policy issues