SuPRA: A Physical Activity Intervention


* Recruitment for this study is now closed.

Study Title: Supporting Physical activity & Reducing sedentary behaviour in Arthritis (SuPRA)

Principal Investigator: 
Linda Li PT, PhD, Professor, University of British Columbia; Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada

Study Start Date:
January 2017

Study End Date: Recruitment Completed in 2019

Why do this research?

There is overwhelming evidence that being physically active improves people’s health and quality of life. Despite this, over 50% of people with arthritis are not physically active enough, even when their symptoms are under control.

In this study, we will test if a new program can improve physical activity and decrease the sitting time in people with knee osteoarthritis.

What will be done?

SuPRA is a program that uses new digital activity trackers (Fitbit Flex) paired with a web based application (app) and physical activity counselling to help people with knee pain be more physically active safely and at their own pace. The program previously used in MONITOR-OA has been changed to create a new application called FitViz. It is a web application that is paired with Fitbit Flex to display information on the level of physical activity.

The SuPRA program will involve:

  1. A one-time group education session in the Greater Vancouver Area on knee osteoarthritis, physical activity, and sedentary lifestyle.
  2. The use of Fitbit Flex paired with the FitViz app.
  3. Online/telephone physical activity counselling by a registered physiotherapist.

Who is involved

We will recruit 60 people with knee osteoarthritis or persistent knee pain. Participants may be eligible if they:

  • Have knee pain, or have been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis.
  • Have not had an acute knee injury in the last 6 months.
  • Have no previous experience in using any physical activity wearables.

We will randomly assign eligible participants to one of the two groups to either receive the intervention immediately (first group) or wait 3 months before getting the intervention (second group). Participants in the first group will be attend a group education session, use a Fitbit Flex activity tracker with the new app, and receive physical activity counselling by a registered physiotherapist. Participants in the second group will wait 3 months to start the same intervention.

During the study period, participants will complete online questionnaires and wear a research-based accelerometer for 7 days at baseline, and at the end of Month 3, 6, and 9.

How do people get involved?

Contact: Johnathan Tam, Research Coordinator
Phone: 604.207.4027
Email: jtam@arthritisresearch.ca

Who is funding the research?

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Who is on the research team?


Dr. Lynne Feehan, BScPT, MSc, PhD
Lead, Clinical Research, Rehabilitation, Fraser Health; Clinical Associate Professor, UBC

Paul Adam, MSW
Rheumatology Liaison and Outreach Services Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Centre

Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubeita, MD, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor, UBC

Dr. Catherine Backman, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT
Head, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UBC

Dr. Charles Goldsmith, MSc, PhD
Professor, Biostatistics, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Diane Gromala, PhD
Professor, Simon Fraser University

Alison Hoens, BScPT, MSc
Knowledge Broker, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC

Greg Noonan, PT
Physiotherapy Practice Coordinator, Mary Pack Arthritis Centre

Dr. Chris Shaw, PhD
Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Richard Smith, PhD
Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Anne Townsend, PhD
Research Associate, UBC

Research Staff:

Halima Elmi, Research Coordinator, Arthritis Research Canada

Juliane Chien, Research Assistant, Arthritis Research Canada

Johnathan Tam, Research Assistant, Arthritis Research Canada

Jenny Leese, PhD trainee, Arthritis Research Canada

Jasmina Geldman, Research Coordinator, Arthritis Research Canada

Graham Macdonald, Research Assistant, Arthritis Research Canada


Cheryl Koehn, President, Arthritis Consumer Experts

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