Survival of the fittest: evidence-based interventions for physical inactivity amongst student populations

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association


School of Education


Black, S. C. (2017). Survival of the fittest: Evidence-based interventions for physical inactivity amongst student populations. Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, 2017(50), 1-13. Available here


Lack of physical activity is a problem amongst student populations given their large proportion of desk-bound activity. Attrition from physical activity programs is widespread. Attrition is influenced by proximal and distal factors of health behaviour. This literature review provides an overview of the theoretical basis of the need for physical activity. Theories on health behaviour are compared, the most useful behaviour change models for deriving theory-based interventions are determined, and an overview of the most successful intervention techniques according to taxonomy-based meta-studies is provided. The literature indicates that integrated interventions that include multiple evidence-based, theory-driven intervention techniques can be effective for increasing physical activity behaviour in individuals and, consequently, improve health outcomes. Professional delivery and individual tailoring further increase the efficacy of interventions. Opportunities for future research are recommended in the areas of converging behaviour change theories, measurement devices for physical activity, and broadening the evidence base for the maintenance phase of health behaviour change