Evaluating the impact of behavioral interventions that target physical activity: Issues of generalizability and public health

P. A. Estabrooks, N. C. Gyurcsik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


Background. Few research-based programs have been translated into mainstream practice and little information is known regarding the public health impact of physical activity interventions. We postulated that the lack of translation and impact information might be the result of two primary reasons. First, the goal of physical activity promotion research in the exercise psychology domain has been to determine the effect of an intervention with a focus on strong internal validity while the goals of translation and public health have received little attention. Second, there is no clear criterion for evaluating the translatability or public health impact of physical activity promotion interventions. Purpose. To outline a methodology of evaluation to further the ability of researchers to determine the potential for translation and eventually the public health impact of physical activity interventions. Method. We provided a review of the research phases for the development of physical activity promotion programs (i.e., efficacy trials, effectiveness trials, and demonstration studies) and examined the applicability of the RE-AIM framework [Glasgow, Vogt, & Boles (1999). American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1322-1327] to evaluate the potential translatability and public health impact of physical activity interventions. Results and Conclusions. A number recommendations were provided and it was concluded that the RE-AIM framework can be used to determine the: (a) potential for efficacy trials to translate well in effectiveness trials, (b) degree to which effectiveness trials are implemented and may be translated to demonstration studies, and (c) public health impact of demonstration studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Efficacy/effectiveness
  • External validity
  • Reach
  • Research to practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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