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Mobile-based Online Social Network Intervention to Increase Physical Activity (PennFit)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02736903
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 13, 2016
Last Update Posted : January 12, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Pennsylvania

Brief Summary:
Despite the racial disparities in rates of chronic diseases and behaviors linked to chronic diseases, there have been relatively few RCTs of interventions to increase physical activity in African American women. Although some studies found significant improvement on physical activity, most focused on individuals and did not take into consideration the social contexts in which the participants' behaviors occurred. Understanding how online social networks facilitate behavior change can bridge important gaps in the way technology can be used to intervene on health among underserved populations. The primary objective of this study was to test the efficacy of a mobile app (PennFit) intervention in increasing participants' daily active minutes objectively recorded by a fitness tracking device (Fitbit zip). In the control group, participants used the PennFit app to record and monitor their own physical activity progress. In the online social network intervention, participants were randomized to 4-women networks and were able to see and compare their own recorded physical activities with activities of the other three women in their network. Participants in a network had access to an online chatting tool to chat with one another. The secondary objective was to understand the intervention's mechanisms through mediation analysis on theoretical variables.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Sedentary Lifestyle Behavioral: PennFit mobile individual intervention Behavioral: PennFit mobile online network intervention Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Despite the racial disparities in rates of chronic diseases and behaviors linked to chronic diseases, there have been relatively few RCTs of interventions to increase physical activity in African American women. Although some studies found significant improvement on physical activity, most focused on individuals and did not take into consideration the social contexts in which the participants' behaviors occurred. A review of qualitative studies of physical-activity correlates in African American adults found that both men and women said group participation would increase their motivation to exercise, and women said that having a physically active partner or friend would facilitate their initiation and maintenance of a physical-activity program. For instance, focus groups with African American women suggested that having a friend or group to exercise with was motivating and should be considered to be an important component of physical activity programs.This finding is consistent with other studies identifying social support as encouraging African American women to engage in physical activity. While previous research emphasized the effects of social support on facilitating physical activity, it is also possible that a lack of social network members perceiving physical activity as a normative behavior may contribute to low rates of physical activity in African American women. Two correlational research found that social support and descriptive norms both predicted physical activity independently . Two experiments found that manipulating descriptive norms increased physical activity . The findings suggest creating physical activity as a normative behavior within African American women's social networks may be an effective way to establish, potentially sustaining physical activity in the long term.

Young African Americans are heavy users of social networking technologies. In 2013, 96% of African Americans aged 18 to 29 used a social networking site of some kind. Understanding how online social networks facilitate behavior change can bridge important gaps in the way technology can be used to intervene on health among underserved populations. The primary objective of this study was to test the efficacy of a mobile app (PennFit) intervention in increasing participants' daily active minutes objectively recorded by a fitness tracking device (Fitbit zip). In the control group, participants used the PennFit app to record and monitor their own physical activity progress. In the online social network intervention, participants were randomized to 4-women networks and were able to see and compare their own recorded physical activities with activities of the other three women in their network. Participants in a network had access to an online chatting tool to chat with one another. The secondary objective was to understand the intervention's mechanisms through mediation analysis on theoretical variables.


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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 91 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Efficacy of Mobile-based Online Social Network Intervention to Increase Physical Activity Among Young African American Women
Study Start Date : December 2015
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 30, 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : September 30, 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine


Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Individual intervention
Behavioral: PennFit mobile individual intervention. Participants were given a Fitbit (zip) to track their daily exercises. Participants used the PennFit app to track their own daily steps and the minutes for vigorous, moderate, and muscle-strengthening exercises that they completed for each day. Participants also received system-generated notifications that reminded them to wear their Fitbit in the morning and to log their activity minutes in the evening.
Behavioral: PennFit mobile individual intervention
PennFit (individual) is a mobile app intervention. Participants received a Fitbit physical activity tracking device and an introductory physical activity promotion session emphasizing the health benefits of physical activity and building skills for daily exercises. Participants used the PennFit app (individual) to record and monitor their own physical activity progress.

Experimental: Online network intervention
Behavioral: PennFit mobile online network intervention. Participants were given a Fitbit (zip) to track their daily exercises. Participants used the PennFit app to track their exercises. Participants also received system-generated notifications that reminded them to wear their Fitbit in the morning and to log their activity minutes in the evening. Participants were randomly assigned to 4-person online networks in the PennFit app. Participants in the online networks could see both their own information and the profiles and activity logs of the three other people assigned to their network. In addition, they could send messages to the network through an instant chatting tool.
Behavioral: PennFit mobile online network intervention
PennFit (online network) is a mobile app intervention. Participants received a Fitbit physical activity tracking device and an introductory physical activity promotion session emphasizing the health benefits of physical activity and building skills for daily exercises. Participants used the PennFit app (online network) to record and monitor their own physical activity progress. They could see both their own information and the profiles and activity logs of the three other women assigned to their network. In addition, they could send messages to the network through an instant chatting tool.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Daily active exercise minutes [ Time Frame: Intervention day 1 to day 90 ]
    Daily active exercise minutes are recorded by the Fitbit (zip) tracking device


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Daily steps [ Time Frame: Intervention day 1 to day 90 ]
    Daily steps are recorded by the Fitbit (zip) tracking device

  2. Daily active calories [ Time Frame: Intervention day 1 to day 90 ]
    Daily active calories are recorded by the Fitbit (zip) tracking device

  3. Self-reported physical activity [ Time Frame: Past 7 days ]
    The number of days on which participants reported engaging in 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, and strength-building activity, in the past 7 days.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 35 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • African American women (self-identified)
  • Aged 18 to 35
  • Using an Android smartphone
  • Residing in Philadelphia

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Already participating in another physical activity study
  • Not able or willing to carry an Android smartphone
  • Being pregnant

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02736903


Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: John B Jemmott, PhD University of Pennsylvania