Mobile phone prompts help keep patients active

Mobile phone reminders may help people become more active, according to a short-term study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The research, led by Darla E. Kendzor, Ph.D., of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, compared the activity levels of a racially-diverse group that received prompts to move through Android phones with a control group that received no prompts.

Participants wore accelerometers for the seven days of the study. Both groups were urged to take frequent breaks from sitting and to stand up while doing tasks such as talking on the phone or reading mail.

Members of the intervention group were given a printed handout on the dangers of extended sitting; they received a mobile phone reminder to "stand up, sit less, and move more" each morning and mobile phone prompts triggered by self-reported sitting several times daily.

Members of the intervention group had significantly fewer minutes of daily sedentary time and more daily minutes of active time than controls during the study period.

Daily minutes of light-intensity activity was significantly higher among intervention participants than those assigned to the control group, although differences did not reach statistical significance when race, smoking (CO level), age, and education were added to the model. The same was true in analysis of activity in the 10 minutes following self-reported sitting.

Previous research found that personalized online planning sessions were more effective in getting sedentary cardiac patients to exercise than offering free vouchers to nearby gyms. Doing both, however, was the most effective of all.

A plethora of smartphone applications for healthcare will be matched by a proliferation of remote health monitoring devices, due to "rising market acceptance," according to a recent Berg Insights report.

To learn more:
- here's the research