ERS data supports web-based management to increase physical activity in COPD population

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Previous research has shown that physical activity is crucial to the health of people with COPD, and even self-management support can increase the effectiveness of physical activity.

However, the specific effects of web-based self-management to support physical activity in these people have been studied by a team of researchers. The results were present by Andre Nyberg, PhD, Department of Psychology, Umeå University at the 2022 International Congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

“There is, today, limited evidence to support commonly used strategies such as physical training, physical activity counseling or pharmacological management,” Nyberg said in his presentation. “The optimal timing, components, or even mode of intervention are still unclear, and new and alternative strategies are urgently warranted.”

COPD care with and without COPD web access

The team conducted a randomized controlled trial with 146 patients with mild to severe COPD who were allocated to either the intervention or control group. The study population had a mean age of 69.5 years and a mean forced expiratory volume score (FEV1) of 60.7.

Throughout the duration of the study, participating patients continued their usual care and received a pedometer as well as education on the importance of physical activity. The intervention group also had access to an interactive website to support COPD self-management and physical activity called COPD Web.

Physical activity was measured via validated accelerometers for 7 days at baseline and again at 3 months. The primary endpoint was the average number of steps taken per weekday, which the investigators analyzed with ANCOVA.

Comparison of physical activity levels

Physical activity levels were similar in the 2 groups at baseline, with the median for the intervention group being 5,549 steps per day and for the control group the median number of steps per day was 5,288.

However, the investigators observed a significant difference between the groups after 3 months. The intervention group outperformed the control group with an average of 1167 more steps per day after gaining access to COPD Web.

These data support web-based self-management for people with COPD with an objective, clinically relevant, short-term increase in physical activity levels compared to usual care.

“This randomized controlled trial strengthens the evidence that web-based self-management support may be a promising strategy for improving physical activity in COPD,” the researchers concluded.

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