An evaluation of the behaviour-change techniques used on Canadian cancer centre Web sites to support physical activity behaviour for breast cancer survivors

B.D. Sylvester, K. Zammit, A.J. Fong, C.M. Sabiston

Abstract


Background

Cancer centre Web sites can be a useful tool for distributing information about the benefits of physical activity for breast cancer (bca) survivors, and they hold potential for supporting health behaviour change. However, the extent to which cancer centre Web sites use evidence-based behaviour change techniques to foster physical activity behaviour among bca survivors is currently unknown. The aim of our study was to evaluate the presentation of behaviour-change techniques on Canadian cancer centre Web sites to promote physical activity behaviour for bca survivors.

Methods

All Canadian cancer centre Web sites (n = 39) were evaluated by two raters using the Coventry, Aberdeen, and London–Refined (calo-re) taxonomy of behaviour change techniques and the eEurope 2002 Quality Criteria for Health Related Websites. Descriptive statistics were calculated.

Results

The most common behaviour change techniques used on Web sites were providing information about consequences in general (80%), suggesting goal-setting behaviour (56%), and planning social support or social change (46%). Overall, Canadian cancer centre Web sites presented an average of M = 6.31 behaviour change techniques (of 40 that were coded) to help bca survivors increase their physical activity behaviour. Evidence of quality factors ranged from 90% (sites that provided evidence of readability) to 0% (sites that provided an editorial policy).

Conclusions

Our results provide preliminary evidence that, of 40 behaviour-change techniques that were coded, fewer than 20% were used to promote physical activity behaviour to bca survivors on cancer centre Web sites, and that the most effective techniques were inconsistently used. On cancer centre Web sites, health promotion specialists could focus on emphasizing knowledge mobilization efforts using available research into behaviour-change techniques to help bca survivors increase their physical activity.


Keywords


Behaviour change techniques; online tools; breast cancer; physical activity; Web sites

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3703






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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)