Mobile health (m-Health) involves public health initiatives that are increasingly being used as a part of public health interventions; including promoting physical activity. However, little attention has been given to measuring the effect of a m-Health intervention programs on body weight, body mass index (BMI) and the specific lifestyle behaviors addressed by the physical activity among college students.To the best of our knowledge, relatively few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of m-Health apps as healthy lifestyle interventions that focuses on education and self-monitoring of diet and physical activity specifically for healthy college students have been done.
Determine the efficacy of a 12-week m-Health intervention with the goal of increasing daily step counts on physical activity, improving body mass index (BMI), and improving body fat mass among college students.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
A 12-week randomized treatment trial was conducted. College students (n = 130) between 18-30 years of age were randomized to one of two conditions: intervention (n = 65) and control (n = 65). The intervention group received physical activity goals of (10,000 step/day), information on the benefits of exercise, and automatic feedback. Control group received information about the benefits of exercise without any kind of intervention.
The primary change was daily step count between baseline and follow-up.
In this study physical activity as expressed by step counts significantly increased from baseline to post intervention (10,022 weekly/ step; P = .008). There were no significant intervention effects for BMI and percent body fat. Significant intervention effects were found for body weight (mean ± SE: 0.419 ± 0.164; P = .013).
The m-Health appeared to be feasible and acceptable. In this study, the results demonstrate that m-Health app can significantly increase physical activity in a college student sample by setting specific goal, using self-monitoring and feedback. In future adaptations of this study, the target aims of the study and individual goals should be personalized based on baseline level of activity.