Increased motivation for physical activity among readers of lifestyle intervention articles
Keywords: Newspaper coverage, health, lifestyle, running
AbstractThe main purpose of this study was to investigate if readers of lifestyle intervention articles published in a newspaper became more motivated for physical activity (PA). A secondary aim was to chart reader characteristics like sex, age and PA level. In 2014, a regional newspaper with 152 000 readers in Stavanger, Norway followed the story of four untrained adults trying to become physically fit. Their goal was to run an 8.2 km park race after 13 weeks of training. A panel of 623 newspaper readers answered a questionnaire about their own PA level and motivation to increase their PA level after reading the articles. Twenty percent of the readers (127 of 623) reported that they always or usually read the intervention articles, which was equal to the number who never read these articles. There was no significant difference in the distribution of men and women within these different categories. Sixteen percent of the reader panel (estimated to 24 000 readers) reported that they were motivated to become more physically active after reading the articles. The study indicates a great potential for promoting a healthy lifestyle by publishing lifestyle interventions in a newspaper.