Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies with a pre-test post-test design were eligible for inclusion. Descriptive studies that did not analyse the media campaign were excluded.
Specific interventions included in the review
Any studies that evaluated a physical activity intervention that used some aspect of community-wide mass media were eligible for inclusion. Interventions that relied on interpersonal communication, that were work- or school-based campaigns, or that were small groups, were excluded. All included studies used differing combinations of the following mass media interventions: television programmes and advertising, radio programmes and advertising, direct mail, newspapers, posters, leaflets, campaign events and merchandise, incidental news coverage, magazines, public service announcements, publicity tours, resource manuals, videos, postcards, websites, books, information lines, and workplace flyers. The targets of the included interventions were: leisure and lifestyle as part of cardiovascular disease reduction; five sessions of physical activity with a total of 150 minutes a week; five 30-minute sessions of moderate physical activity per week; tackling weight problems with small, permanent changes in diet and exercise; stage change; and a move from preparation to action stage and/or remaining in action stage with 30 minutes of walking each day.
Participants included in the review
The authors did not state any inclusion or exclusion criteria for the participants, other than that they should be a whole community. The populations included were: five cities in central California; 25- to 60-year-olds in New South Wales; 16- to 74- year-olds in England; groups with a high prevalence of obesity in England; four cities in southern Ontario; 50- to 65-year-olds in a West Virginia city; and 18- to 65+ year-olds in an Arizona town.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The authors did not state any inclusion criteria for the outcomes. The main outcomes were message recall, changes in knowledge, and changes in levels of physical activity.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.