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A Web-Based, Social Networking Physical Activity Intervention for Insufficiently Active Adults Delivered via Facebook App: Randomized Controlled Trial.

Maher C, Ferguson M, Vandelanotte C, Plotnikoff R, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Thomas S, Nelson-Field K, Olds T - J. Med. Internet Res. (2015)

Bottom Line: Analyses were undertaken using random-effects mixed modeling, accounting for potential clustering at the team level.At the 8-week follow-up, the intervention participants had significantly increased their total weekly MVPA by 135 minutes relative to the control group (P=.03), due primarily to increases in walking time (155 min/week increase relative to controls, P<.001).There were no significant changes in vigorous physical activity, nor overall quality of life or mental health quality of life at either time point.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. carol.maher@unisa.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: Online social networks offer considerable potential for delivery of socially influential health behavior change interventions.

Objective: To determine the efficacy, engagement, and feasibility of an online social networking physical activity intervention with pedometers delivered via Facebook app.

Methods: A total of 110 adults with a mean age of 35.6 years (SD 12.4) were recruited online in teams of 3 to 8 friends. Teams were randomly allocated to receive access to a 50-day online social networking physical activity intervention which included self-monitoring, social elements, and pedometers ("Active Team" Facebook app; n=51 individuals, 12 teams) or a wait-listed control condition (n=59 individuals, 13 teams). Assessments were undertaken online at baseline, 8 weeks, and 20 weeks. The primary outcome measure was self-reported weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Secondary outcomes were weekly walking, vigorous physical activity time, moderate physical activity time, overall quality of life, and mental health quality of life. Analyses were undertaken using random-effects mixed modeling, accounting for potential clustering at the team level. Usage statistics were reported descriptively to determine engagement and feasibility.

Results: At the 8-week follow-up, the intervention participants had significantly increased their total weekly MVPA by 135 minutes relative to the control group (P=.03), due primarily to increases in walking time (155 min/week increase relative to controls, P<.001). However, statistical differences between groups for total weekly MVPA and walking time were lost at the 20-week follow-up. There were no significant changes in vigorous physical activity, nor overall quality of life or mental health quality of life at either time point. High levels of engagement with the intervention, and particularly the self-monitoring features, were observed.

Conclusions: An online, social networking physical activity intervention with pedometers can produce sizable short-term physical activity changes. Future work is needed to determine how to maintain behavior change in the longer term, how to reach at-need populations, and how to disseminate such interventions on a mass scale.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12614000488606; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=366239 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6ZVtu6TMz).

No MeSH data available.


Active Team dashboard, showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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figure2: Active Team dashboard, showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts.

Mentions: Active Team is a new, free, 50-day team-based Facebook app, developed to assist adults to increase their physical activity levels. The content and features of the program were developed by a team at the University of South Australia led by Dr Carol Maher, following a series of interviews with 20 adults regarding the potential for developing a physical activity intervention delivered via online social networks (unpublished). Commercial software developers were engaged to produce the software platform, and extensive pilot-testing and usability testing was undertaken for the first version of the software [20]. Participants are provided with a pedometer, and encouraged to achieve 10,000 steps per day [21], working in teams of 3 to 8 existing Facebook friends. Active Team is designed to encourage friendly rivalry within friendship groups, offer peer encouragement and support, and be quick, social, and enjoyable to use. It includes a calendar to log daily step counts (steps can be logged up to 7 days in arrears) (see Figure 1); a dashboard showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts (see Figure 2); a team tally board to allow users to monitor their own and their teammates’ progress; a team message board for team members to communicate with one another; daily tips for increasing physical activity; gamification features, such as awards for individual and team step-logging and step-count achievements; and the ability to send virtual gifts to teammates. Automated computer-tailored weekly emails are sent to participants summarizing their progress and encouraging continued participation. Apart from provision of a pedometer, the Active Team intervention approach was designed to be minimally resource intensive and, therefore, did not include provision of extensive instrumental support, expert moderation, or feedback from a health professional.


A Web-Based, Social Networking Physical Activity Intervention for Insufficiently Active Adults Delivered via Facebook App: Randomized Controlled Trial.

Maher C, Ferguson M, Vandelanotte C, Plotnikoff R, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Thomas S, Nelson-Field K, Olds T - J. Med. Internet Res. (2015)

Active Team dashboard, showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526990&req=5

figure2: Active Team dashboard, showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts.
Mentions: Active Team is a new, free, 50-day team-based Facebook app, developed to assist adults to increase their physical activity levels. The content and features of the program were developed by a team at the University of South Australia led by Dr Carol Maher, following a series of interviews with 20 adults regarding the potential for developing a physical activity intervention delivered via online social networks (unpublished). Commercial software developers were engaged to produce the software platform, and extensive pilot-testing and usability testing was undertaken for the first version of the software [20]. Participants are provided with a pedometer, and encouraged to achieve 10,000 steps per day [21], working in teams of 3 to 8 existing Facebook friends. Active Team is designed to encourage friendly rivalry within friendship groups, offer peer encouragement and support, and be quick, social, and enjoyable to use. It includes a calendar to log daily step counts (steps can be logged up to 7 days in arrears) (see Figure 1); a dashboard showing step-logging progress, awards, and gifts (see Figure 2); a team tally board to allow users to monitor their own and their teammates’ progress; a team message board for team members to communicate with one another; daily tips for increasing physical activity; gamification features, such as awards for individual and team step-logging and step-count achievements; and the ability to send virtual gifts to teammates. Automated computer-tailored weekly emails are sent to participants summarizing their progress and encouraging continued participation. Apart from provision of a pedometer, the Active Team intervention approach was designed to be minimally resource intensive and, therefore, did not include provision of extensive instrumental support, expert moderation, or feedback from a health professional.

Bottom Line: Analyses were undertaken using random-effects mixed modeling, accounting for potential clustering at the team level.At the 8-week follow-up, the intervention participants had significantly increased their total weekly MVPA by 135 minutes relative to the control group (P=.03), due primarily to increases in walking time (155 min/week increase relative to controls, P<.001).There were no significant changes in vigorous physical activity, nor overall quality of life or mental health quality of life at either time point.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. carol.maher@unisa.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: Online social networks offer considerable potential for delivery of socially influential health behavior change interventions.

Objective: To determine the efficacy, engagement, and feasibility of an online social networking physical activity intervention with pedometers delivered via Facebook app.

Methods: A total of 110 adults with a mean age of 35.6 years (SD 12.4) were recruited online in teams of 3 to 8 friends. Teams were randomly allocated to receive access to a 50-day online social networking physical activity intervention which included self-monitoring, social elements, and pedometers ("Active Team" Facebook app; n=51 individuals, 12 teams) or a wait-listed control condition (n=59 individuals, 13 teams). Assessments were undertaken online at baseline, 8 weeks, and 20 weeks. The primary outcome measure was self-reported weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Secondary outcomes were weekly walking, vigorous physical activity time, moderate physical activity time, overall quality of life, and mental health quality of life. Analyses were undertaken using random-effects mixed modeling, accounting for potential clustering at the team level. Usage statistics were reported descriptively to determine engagement and feasibility.

Results: At the 8-week follow-up, the intervention participants had significantly increased their total weekly MVPA by 135 minutes relative to the control group (P=.03), due primarily to increases in walking time (155 min/week increase relative to controls, P<.001). However, statistical differences between groups for total weekly MVPA and walking time were lost at the 20-week follow-up. There were no significant changes in vigorous physical activity, nor overall quality of life or mental health quality of life at either time point. High levels of engagement with the intervention, and particularly the self-monitoring features, were observed.

Conclusions: An online, social networking physical activity intervention with pedometers can produce sizable short-term physical activity changes. Future work is needed to determine how to maintain behavior change in the longer term, how to reach at-need populations, and how to disseminate such interventions on a mass scale.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12614000488606; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=366239 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6ZVtu6TMz).

No MeSH data available.