Does online social connectivity promote physical activity in a wearable tracker-based intervention? A pilot randomized controlled study

Myong Won Seo, Youngdeok Kim, Hyun Chul Jung, Jung-Hyun Kim, Jung-Min Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wearable activity trackers have gained popularity among individuals who want to track their physical activity (PA). The features of wearable tracking technology that are known to facilitate positive behavior changes such as self-monitoring and social connectedness) are well documented; yet, the existing evidence is not conclusive in the literature requiring further investigation. This study was an 8-week pilot randomized controlled study examining the effectiveness of PA intervention incorporating a wearable activity tracker’s online connectivity feature. Forty participants were equally randomized into either an individual-based (n = 20) or a connected group (n = 20). A Jawbone UP24 tracker was provided to all participants in both groups as a means of self-monitoring PA for
eight weeks, but the connected group was additionally instructed to share their PA levels with the others using the accompanying smartphone application. Participants’ weekly step counts were evaluated each week to examine the change in PA. Participants’ biometric variables such as body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, and psychological status, including
self-efficacy (SE) and exercise motivation (EM), were measured from both groups before and after the intervention period. Additionally, the social support questionnaire (SSQ) was measured among the connected group. The statistical significance level was set at <0.05. The average step counts for eight weeks were significantly increased only in the connected group (p < 0.001). Significant differences in step count improved from the baseline to week 8 in the connected user group (p < 0.01), but only baseline vs. week 7 in the individual users. Also, no significant interaction effects for biometric variables, EM, and SE were founded. However, SSQ was significantly improved in the connected user group (p < 0.001). PA intervention combining a wearable activity tracker and online social
connectivity feature shows a greater effectiveness of promoting PA than a wearable tracker alone
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8803
JournalSustainability
Volume12
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • accelerometer physical activity
  • average step count
  • social support
  • self-efficacy
  • exercise motivation

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