Too much jargon in physical activity resources for adults

Too much jargon in physical activity resources for adults

Web page articles and other written materials designed to encourage physical activity are often too difficult to be easily read and understood by most US adults, limiting their effectiveness.

Cardinal and OSU doctoral candidate Jafrā D. Thomas recently published two papers on the topic. The first paper, a readability review of more than 150 written resources, was published in the Sociology of Sport Journal.

The second, an analysis of 14 past studies of readability of physical activity resources, was just published in the journal Quest. Thomas is lead author of both papers; Brian Flay, professor emeritus in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, is also a co-author on the second paper.

In the first paper, Thomas and Cardinal reviewed 163 articles and downloadable documents on popular health promotion websites such as WebMD.com, Heart.org and CDC.gov. They grouped the articles based on their sources: government, professional association, voluntary health agency or commercial, and used several readability formulas to measure the reading grade level of each resource.

They found that more than 50 percent of the materials, which included a range of topics such as physical activity and exercise ideas, technical instruction and management of specific health conditions, were written above an eighth-grade reading level, the maximum recommended for accessibility. Only 2.5 percent were written for optimal reading levels, which is fifth-grade or lower.

Source: Unnecessarily difficult: Physical activity resources for adults are loaded with jargon


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