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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #214542

Title: Food, Fun and Fitness Internet program for girls: influencing log-on rate

item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Baranowski, Thomas
item Cullen, Karen
item Watson, Kathy
item Canada, Ashanti
item Bhatt, Riddhi
item Liu, Yan
item Zakeri, Issa

Submitted to: Health Education Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/8/2007
Publication Date: 4/1/2008
Citation: Thompson, D., Baranowski, T., Cullen, K., Watson, K., Canada, A., Bhatt, R., Liu, Y., Zakeri, I. 2008. Food, Fun and Fitness Internet program for girls: Influencing log-on rate. Health Education Research. 23(2):228-237.

Interpretive Summary: Internet-based intervention programs to promote behavior changes are only effective when subjects participate on line; this is measured by the log-on rate. This article looks at how incentives and recruitment methods affect log-on rate in an 8-week obesity prevention program. Participants were 8- to 10-year-old African American girls recruited either by media or non-media methods. They received incentives within two days of logging on or at the end of the program. Overall log-on rate was 74.5%. There was no statistical difference in how the girls were recruited or when they received an incentive. This study shows that a high log-on rate can be achieved. More research is needed to understand this better.

Technical Abstract: Internet-based interventions hold promise as an effective channel for reaching large numbers of youth. However, log-on rates, a measure of program dose, have been highly variable. Methods to enhance log-on rate are needed. Incentives may be an effective method. This paper reports the effect of reinforcement schedule and recruitment method on log-on rates to an 8-week Internet-based obesity prevention program. It also explores trends in log-on rate. Girls were randomized to receive immediate (weekly) or delayed (program end) incentives ($5). The study was powered to detect a moderate-to-large effect (0.65). Overall log-on rate was 74.5%. A higher but not statistically different log-on rate was observed in the immediate incentive group (79%) than in the delayed incentive group (70%) (P = 0.118), and among girls recruited via media (80%) as opposed to non-media methods (69%) (P = 0.058). Trend analysis indicated a significant drop in log-on rate between weeks 4 and 5 among all participants (P = 0.009). Although an acceptable log-on rate was achieved in this program, there was a substantial drop between weeks 4 and 5. Identifying the reason that this occurred may provide insight into how to further enhance log-on rate. Recruitment method may influence log-on rate.