Introduction: Large proportions of the population are not meeting recommended levels of
physical activity and have increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Low levels of physical activity are
predictive of poor health outcomes and time spent sedentary is related to a host of risk factors
independently of physical activity levels. Building an evidence base of the best approaches to
intervene in the lifestyles of inactive individuals is crucial in preventing long-term disease,
disability and higher mortality rates.

Methods and analysis: Systematic searches will be conducted on all relevant databases (eg,
PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, PsycINFO). Studies will be included if they assess interventions
aimed at changing physical activity or sedentary behaviour levels in adults (over 18) who are
inactive and do not suffer from chronic conditions. Studies must also be randomised controlled
trials (RCTs), have a primary outcome of physical activity or sedentary behaviour, and measure
outcomes at least 6 months after intervention completion. Studies will be coded using the
Behaviour Change Technique (BCT) taxonomy v1 and Template for Intervention Description
and Replication (TIDieR) guidelines. 2 reviewers will independently screen full-text articles and
extract data on study characteristics, participants, BCTs, intervention features and outcome
measures. Study quality will also be assessed independently by 2 reviewers using the Cochrane
risk of bias tool. A meta-analysis will be considered if there is sufficient homogeneity across
outcomes. GRADE criteria will be used to assess quality of evidence.

Dissemination: This will be the first review to systematically appraise interventions aimed at
changing the physical activity or sedentary behaviour of inactive individuals using RCT designs
with a 6-month follow-up post-intervention. This review will better inform intervention designers
targeting inactive populations and inform the design of a future complex intervention.

Review registration number: This protocol was registered with the International Prospective
Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) on 17 October 2014 (registration number:


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