• Obesity;
  • physical activity;
  • systematic review;
  • theory-based intervention


Little attention has been paid to the evaluation of the long-term impact of theory-based interventions on physical activity participation among overweight/obese individuals after the interventions have ended. The primary aim of this systematic review was to investigate the long-term effectiveness of theory-based interventions increasing physical activity and identify the most effective techniques for behaviour change among overweight/obese individuals. The secondary aim was to investigate the effect of these interventions on theoretical variables. Eighteen studies were reviewed. Among these studies, three reported significant short-term and two long-term effects of interventions on physical activity participation. Most of the studies observed a significant short- or long-term effect of time on this behaviour. Theoretical frameworks most often applied included the Behavioural Model and the Social Learning/Cognitive Theory. However, few of the studies reported any impact on theoretical variables. The most prevalent techniques consisted of providing opportunities for social comparison and instruction as well as self-monitoring. Leading techniques differentiating the experimental group from the control group included prompting practice and intentions formation and barriers identification. Although the combination of these three techniques appears successful, the long-term impact of theory-based interventions remains ambiguous.