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Efficacy of an mHealth Behavior Change Intervention for Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace: Randomized Controlled Trial

HumanInsight Efficacy of an mHealth Behavior Change Intervention for Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace: Randomized Controlled Trial

J Med Internet Res. 2023 Apr 27;25:e44108. doi: 10.2196/44108.


BACKGROUND: Insufficient physical activity (PA) is a well-established risk factor for several noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, depression, and dementia. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that individuals engage in 150 minutes of moderate PA per week or 75 minutes of intense PA per week. According to the WHO's latest report, 23% of adults fail to meet the minimum recommended level of PA. The percentage was even higher in a recent global study that showed 27% of adults were insufficiently active and reported a 5% increase in the prevalence trend of insufficient PA between 2001 and 2016. The study also showed the rate of insufficient PA among countries varied significantly. For instance, it was estimated that 40% were insufficiently active in the United States, and the percentage was even higher in Saudi Arabia (more than 50%). Governments are actively developing policies and methods to successfully establish a PA-inducing environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle in order to address the global steady decline in PA.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of mobile health (mHealth) interventions, particularly SMS text messaging interventions, to improve PA and decrease BMI in healthy adults in the workplace.

METHODS: In this parallel, 2-arm randomized controlled trial, healthy adults (N=327) were randomized to receive an mHealth intervention (tailored text messages combined with self-monitoring (intervention; n=166) or no intervention (control; n=161). Adults who were fully employed in an academic institution and had limited PA during working hours were recruited for the study. Outcomes, such as PA and BMI, were assessed at baseline and 3 months later.

RESULTS: Results showed significant improvement in PA levels (weekly step counts) in the intervention group (β=1097, 95% CI 922-1272, P<.001). There was also a significant reduction in BMI (β=0.60, 95% CI 0.50-0.69, P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Combining tailored text messages and self-monitoring interventions to improve PA and lower BMI was significantly effective and has the potential to leverage current methods to improve wellness among the public.

PMID:37103981 | DOI:10.2196/44108

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