Promoting Physical Activity through Smartphone Apps in Overweight/Obese College Students


 My name is Zachary Pope and I am a doctoral student within the School of Kinesiology. Additionally, I am a graduate research assistant within the University of Minnesota’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory with an interest in using novel technology to help improve the health of a diverse array of populations. I am emailing you today to gauge your interest in participating in a university study!

 Participation in regular physical activity is vital to a healthy lifestyle. As a college student, however, engaging in a healthy lifestyle can be difficult due to school and work pressures in addition to the increased responsibility brought about by making nutrition and physical activity choices independently for the first time. Luckily, we live in an age of technology wherein nearly 80% of college students download smartphone apps to their phone. Yet, the effectiveness of smartphone apps as a tool for improving health outcomes among college students is largely unstudied.

 The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a free, commercially available smartphone app called MapMyFitness with the capability to upload physical activity statistics to Facebook, in improving health outcomes (e.g., weight loss, motivation for physical activity) among college students. Think this study is for you? See the subject requirements below!

Subject requirements
  • 18-35 years-old
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 18.5 (see explanation)
  • Have not engaged in greater the 150 minutes weekly of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over the last two months
  • Own an Android or Apple smartphone
  • Possess no diagnosed physical or mental disorder
  • Is willing to be randomized into either an intervention or control group, provides informed consent, and completes the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire

Subjects will be randomized into an intervention group utilizing the MapMyFitness app and receiving bi-weekly fitness tips via a private Facebook page OR into a control group receiving only bi-weekly fitness tips via the private Facebook page. Upon following all guidelines and protocols by the end of intervention, the subject will receive $30 as the incentive.

Please contact:

Zachary Pope, MK
Graduate Research Assistant
University of Minnesota
Room 310, Williamson Hall
231 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (208) 891-9421