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Am J Prev Med. 2008 Feb;34(2):138-42. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.09.025.

Promoting physical activity through hand-held computer technology.

Author information

  • 1Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5705, USA. king@stanford.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Efforts to achieve population-wide increases in walking and similar moderate-intensity physical activities potentially can be enhanced through relevant applications of state-of-the-art interactive communication technologies. Yet few systematic efforts to evaluate the efficacy of hand-held computers and similar devices for enhancing physical activity levels have occurred. The purpose of this first-generation study was to evaluate the efficacy of a hand-held computer (i.e., personal digital assistant [PDA]) for increasing moderate intensity or more vigorous (MOD+) physical activity levels over 8 weeks in mid-life and older adults relative to a standard information control arm.

DESIGN:

Randomized, controlled 8-week experiment. Data were collected in 2005 and analyzed in 2006-2007.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:

Community-based study of 37 healthy, initially underactive adults aged 50 years and older who were randomized and completed the 8-week study (intervention=19, control=18).

INTERVENTION:

Participants received an instructional session and a PDA programmed to monitor their physical activity levels twice per day and provide daily and weekly individualized feedback, goal setting, and support. Controls received standard, age-appropriate written physical activity educational materials.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Physical activity was assessed via the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) questionnaire at baseline and 8 weeks.

RESULTS:

Relative to controls, intervention participants reported significantly greater 8-week mean estimated caloric expenditure levels and minutes per week in MOD+ activity (p<0.04). Satisfaction with the PDA was reasonably high in this largely PDA-naive sample.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results from this first-generation study indicate that hand-held computers may be effective tools for increasing initial physical activity levels among underactive adults.

PMID:
18201644
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2715220
Free PMC Article
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