A Social Media-Based Physical Activity Intervention A Randomized Controlled Trial
ABSTRACT Online social networks, such as Facebook™, have extensive reach, and they use technology that could enhance social support, an established determinant of physical activity. This combination of reach and functionality makes online social networks a promising intervention platform for increasing physical activity.
To test the efficacy of a physical activity intervention that combined education, physical activity monitoring, and online social networking to increase social support for physical activity compared to an education-only control.
RCT. Students (n=134) were randomized to two groups: education-only controls receiving access to a physical activity-focused website (n=67) and intervention participants receiving access to the same website with physical activity self-monitoring and enrollment in a Facebook group (n=67). Recruitment and data collection occurred in 2010 and 2011; data analyses were performed in 2011.
Female undergraduate students at a large southeastern public university.
Intervention participants were encouraged through e-mails, website instructions, and moderator communications to solicit and provide social support related to increasing physical activity through a physical activity-themed Facebook group. Participants received access to a dedicated website with educational materials and a physical activity self-monitoring tool.
The primary outcome was perceived social support for physical activity; secondary outcomes included self-reported physical activity.
Participants experienced increases in social support and physical activity over time but there were no differences in perceived social support or physical activity between groups over time. Facebook participants posted 259 times to the group. Two thirds (66%) of intervention participants completing a post-study survey indicated that they would recommend the program to friends.
Use of an online social networking group plus self-monitoring did not produce greater perceptions of social support or physical activity as compared to education-only controls. Given their promising features and potential reach, efforts to further understand how online social networks can be used in health promotion should be pursued.
This study is registered at clinicaltrials.govNCT01421758.
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ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 2.1% of the Australian population (1.5% males; 2.6% females), with the highest prevalence from ages 55 to over 75 years (4.4-6.1%). In Canada, RA affects approximately 0.9% of adults, and within 30 years that is expected to increase to 1.3%. With an aging population and a greater number of individuals with modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases, such as arthritis, there is an urgent need for co-care management of arthritic conditions. The increasing trend and present shifts in the health services and policy sectors suggest that digital information delivery is becoming more prominent. Therefore, it is necessary to further investigate the use of online resources for RA information delivery. The objective is to examine the effect of implementing an online program provided to patients with RA, the People Getting a Grip on Arthritis for RA (PGrip-RA) program, using information communication technologies (ie, Facebook and emails) in combination with arthritis health care professional support and electronic educational pamphlets. We believe this can serve as a useful and economical method of knowledge translation (KT). This KT randomized controlled trial will use a prospective randomized open-label blinded-endpoint design to compare four different intervention approaches of the PGrip-RA program to a control group receiving general electronic educational pamphlets self-management in RA via email. Depending on group allocation, links to the Arthritis Society PGrip-RA material will be provided either through Facebook or by email. One group will receive feedback online from trained health care professionals. The intervention period is 6 weeks. Participants will have access to the Internet-based material after the completion of the baseline questionnaires until the final follow-up questionnaire at 6 months. We will invite 396 patients from Canadian and Australian Arthritis Consumers' Associations to participate using online recruitment. This study will build on a pilot study using Facebook, which revealed promising effects of knowledge acquisition/integration of the evidence-based self-management PGrip educational program. The use of online techniques to disseminate knowledge provides an opportunity to reduce health care costs by facilitating self-management of people with arthritis. Study design strengths include the incorporation of randomization and allocation concealment to ensure internal validity. To avoid intergroup contamination, the Facebook group page security settings will be set to "closed", thus allowing only invited participants to access it. Study limitations include the lack of participant blinding due to the characteristics of this KT randomized controlled trial and a potential bias of recruiting patients only online, though this was proven effective in the previous pilot study. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000397617; http://www.anzctr.org.au/TrialSearch.aspx (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6PrP0kQf8).02/2015; 4(1):e19. DOI:10.2196/resprot.3572
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ABSTRACT: The transition from adolescence to early adulthood is a critical period in which there is a decline in physical activity (PA). College and university students make up a large segment of this age group. Smartphones may be used to promote and support PA. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore Dutch students' preferences regarding a PA application (PA app) for smartphones. Thirty Dutch students (aged 18-25 years) used a PA app for three weeks and subsequently attended a focus group discussion (k = 5). To streamline the discussion, a discussion guide was developed covering seven main topics, including general app usage, usage and appreciation of the PA app, appreciation of and preferences for its features and the sharing of PA accomplishments through social media. The discussions were audio and video recorded, transcribed and analysed according to conventional content analysis. The participants, aged 21 ± 2 years, were primarily female (67%). Several themes emerged: app usage, technical aspects, PA assessment, coaching aspects and sharing through social media. Participants most often used social networking apps (e.g., Facebook or Twitter), communication apps (e.g., WhatsApp) and content apps (e.g., news reports or weather forecasts). They preferred a simple and structured layout without unnecessary features. Ideally, the PA app should enable users to tailor it to their personal preferences by including the ability to hide features. Participants preferred a companion website for detailed information about their accomplishments and progress, and they liked tracking their workout using GPS. They preferred PA apps that coached and motivated them and provided tailored feedback toward personally set goals. They appreciated PA apps that enabled competition with friends by ranking or earning rewards, but only if the reward system was transparent. They were not willing to share their regular PA accomplishments through social media unless they were exceptionally positive. Participants prefer PA apps that coach and motivate them, that provide tailored feedback toward personally set goals and that allow competition with friends.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 12/2015; 12(1):189. DOI:10.1186/s12966-015-0189-1 · 3.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To examine the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving physical activity, diet, and/or weight-related behaviors amongst university/college students. Five online databases were searched (January 1970 to April 2014). Experimental study designs were eligible for inclusion. Data extraction was performed by one reviewer using a standardized form developed by the researchers and checked by a second reviewer. Data were described in a narrative synthesis and meta-analyses were conducted when appropriate. Study quality was also established. Forty-one studies were included; of these, 34 reported significant improvements in one of the key outcomes. Of the studies examining physical activity 18/29 yielded significant results, with meta-analysis demonstrating significant increases in moderate physical activity in intervention groups compared to control. Of the studies examining nutrition, 12/24 reported significantly improved outcomes; only 4/12 assessing weight loss outcomes found significant weight reduction. This appears to be the first systematic review of physical activity, diet and weight loss interventions targeting university and college students. Tertiary institutions are appropriate settings for implementing and evaluating lifestyle interventions, however more research is needed to improve such strategies. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12966-015-0203-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 04/2015; 12. DOI:10.1186/s12966-015-0203-7 · 3.68 Impact Factor