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Child Obes. 2014 Apr;10(2):132-44. doi: 10.1089/chi.2013.0084. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

iPhone app adherence to expert-recommended guidelines for pediatric obesity prevention.

Author information

1
1 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine , Kansas City, KS.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pediatric obesity is a serious and prevalent problem. Smartphone technology, which is becoming increasingly available to children of diverse backgrounds, presents a unique opportunity to instill healthy behaviors before the onset of obesity. Past studies have examined the use of smartphone applications as tools of health behavior modification for adults. The present study examines the content of children's exercise and nutrition smartphone apps.

METHOD:

Sixty-two iPhone apps were identified and coded by two independent raters for adherence to expert-recommended behaviors (e.g., five fruits/vegetables per day) and strategies (e.g., self-monitoring diet/physical activity) for the prevention of pediatric obesity.

RESULTS:

App behavioral and strategy index scores were uniformly low. Apps were more likely to address expert-recommended behaviors for the prevention of pediatric obesity (93.5%), whereas few apps addressed recommended strategies (20.9%). The most common behaviors addressed included physical activity (53.2%) and fruit/vegetable consumption (48.3%). Other important behaviors (e.g., screen time [1.6%] and family meals together [1.6%]) were rarely addressed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Current children's diet and exercise apps could be improved with increased adherence to expert-recommended guidelines, especially expert-recommended strategies.

PMID:
24655230
PMCID:
PMC3991997
DOI:
10.1089/chi.2013.0084
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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