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ERIC Number: EJ1067829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-1932-5037
Health and Fitness App Use in College Students: A Qualitative Study
Gowin, Mary; Cheney, Marshall; Gwin, Shannon; Wann, Taylor Franklin
American Journal of Health Education, v46 n4 p223-230 2015
Background: College students experience weight gain that can contribute to serious health issues. Health education efforts with college students are increasingly utilizing new technologies. Smartphone applications (apps) in particular are growing in popularity and use in all young adults. Purpose: Formative research was conducted to describe how college students in the southwestern United States use health/fitness apps to change behavior. Method: College students (n = 27) ages 18-30 reporting use of health/fitness apps were recruited on a large public university campus and participated in interviews about app choice, behavioral goals, features, and reasons for continued use. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for themes using a 4-person coding team and the qualitative research software NVivo. Results: Most participants downloaded an app to meet a goal and felt that the app helped them meet it. Two distinct groups emerged, those who used apps to support an established behavior and those who used them to adopt a new behavior. The majority of participants reported that acceptable apps were free, easy to use, provided visual/auditory cues, and had game-like rewards. Most participants strongly opposed linking their social media with apps and did not use those features. Discussion: College students use apps to meet different goals such as developing an exercise routine or improving eating habits. Examining what influences health/fitness app choices among college students may provide important insights for future interventions developed to promote app use over long periods of time. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health education programming may benefit from the use of apps, because college students are already adopting these technologies. Features that are important such as ease of use and game-like rewards can help health educators choose appropriate apps for college student programs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A