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Open AccessArticle

Feasibility of a mHealth Approach to Nutrition Counseling in an Appalachian State

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Department of Animal and Food Science, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
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School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35487, USA
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WVU Family Practice, Department of Family Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26501, USA
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Valley Health System, Department of Family Medicine, Huntington, WV 25701, USA
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New River Health, Department of Family Medicine, Sophia, WV 25921, USA
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CAMC Family Practice, Department of Family Medicine, Charleston, WV 25304, USA
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Robert C. Byrd Clinic and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, WV 24901 USA
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Coplin Memorial Hospital, Family Practice, Elizabeth, WV 26143, USA
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West Virginia Practice Based Research Network, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Pers. Med. 2019, 9(4), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm9040050
Received: 15 October 2019 / Revised: 12 November 2019 / Accepted: 14 November 2019 / Published: 20 November 2019
West Virginia is a rural state with an aging population that may experience barriers to accessing nutritional and lifestyle counseling. This study examined feasibility of an online personalized nutrition tracking application, Good Measures (GM), with patients at seven health care clinics throughout the state. Fourteen healthcare providers and 64 patients 18 years or older with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 and access to the Internet were recruited for this 12-week feasibility study. Patient participants logged meals and exercise into the GM application via smart phone, tablet, or computer and virtually engaged with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in one-on-one sessions. The primary endpoint was to examine feasibility of the program by usage of the application and feedback questions regarding the benefits and challenges of the application. Participants were predominately white (92%) and female (76%). Minimal improvements in weight and systolic blood pressure were found. Participant attitude survey data declined from 4-weeks to 12-weeks of the intervention. Interestingly though, patients in a rural clinic had lesser declines in attitudes than peri-urban participants. Qualitative feedback data identified participants predominately had a positive overall feeling toward the approach. Participants expressed favorability of RDN access, the variety of foods, but did give suggestions for in-person meetings and more updating of the application. Implementing a technology approach to nutrition in rural areas of West Virginia using a mobile application with RDN access may be one strategy to address public health issues such as obesity. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural; mHealth; feasibility; dietitian; app; Appalachia rural; mHealth; feasibility; dietitian; app; Appalachia
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Olfert, M.D.; Barr, M.L.; Hagedorn, R.L.; Long, D.M.; Haggerty, T.S.; Weimer, M.; Golden, J.; Maurer, M.A.; Cochran, J.D.; Hendershot, T.; Whanger, S.L.; Mason, J.D.; Hodder, S.L. Feasibility of a mHealth Approach to Nutrition Counseling in an Appalachian State. J. Pers. Med. 2019, 9, 50.

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