Special Issue "Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Dietary Interventions and Tracking Using Technology"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Zachary C. Pope
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Interests: Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Diet; Health technology; Cardiovascular disease; Heart rate variability; Gut microbiome; Diabetes
Dr. Zan Gao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Kinesiology, The University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Interests: Physical activity epidemiology; physical activity interventions; emerging technology applications; physical activity measurement
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Technology is ubiquitous in everyday life, with health and wellness programs increasingly seeking to leverage technology to promote physical activity and nutritious eating behaviors while reducing sedentary behavior. With this Special Issue, we seek to provide an in-depth investigation of technologies used for the promotion of physical activity and nutritious eating behaviors and the reduction of sedentary behavior. We desire studies from all different contexts (communities, worksites, hospitals, schools, homes, etc.) across various populations which have: (1) sought to intervene and improve physical activity, sedentary behavior, and/or diet using technology; or (2) sought to validate different technologies for the tracking of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and/or diet. Additionally, while we will use this Special Issue as a platform to discuss the positive implications of technology use in health promotion, we also desire studies which discuss the potential negative implications of technology use in health promotion. Technologies of interest include but are not limited to wearable technologies, smartphone/mobile device applications and games, social media, global positioning and geographic information systems, active video games (exergaming), augmented reality, and virtual reality. Overall, this Special Issue will serve as a thorough critique of the use and validation of technologies used to improve and track physical activity, sedentary behavior, and diet, with the Special Issue content providing practical implications for researchers, health professionals, and educators in the fields of public health, health and wellness, kinesiology, and medicine.

Dr. Zachary C. Pope
Dr. Zan Gao
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Active video games (exergaming)
  • Applications
  • Augmented reality
  • Diet
  • Geographic information systems
  • Global positioning systems
  • Interventions
  • Mobile devices
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Smartphones
  • Social media
  • Validation
  • Virtual reality
  • Wearable technology

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Vibrotactile Feedback on Sedentary Behaviors in Adults: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234612 - 20 Nov 2019
Abstract
No effective and easily implemented intervention strategies for reducing sedentary behavior have been established. This pilot trial (UMIN000024372) investigated whether vibrotactile feedback reduces sedentary behavior. Twenty-six adults aged 30–69 years who were sedentary ≥8 h/day were randomly assigned to control (n = [...] Read more.
No effective and easily implemented intervention strategies for reducing sedentary behavior have been established. This pilot trial (UMIN000024372) investigated whether vibrotactile feedback reduces sedentary behavior. Twenty-six adults aged 30–69 years who were sedentary ≥8 h/day were randomly assigned to control (n = 13) or vibration (n = 13) groups. Participants wore a monitor 9 h daily for seven-day periods at baseline (week zero), during the intervention (weeks one, three, five, and seven), and after the intervention (week eight). During the eight-week intervention, vibration-group participants were notified by a vibration through the monitor whenever continuous sedentary time reached ≥30 min; they also received weekly reports of their sedentary patterns. Control-group participants did not receive feedback. The primary outcome was change in total sedentary time. Changes in longer bouts of sedentary time (≥35 min) were also assessed. No significant difference was found in the change in total sedentary time (control: −17.5 min/9 h, vibration: −9.1 min/9 h; p = 0.42). Although no significant differences were observed in sedentary time in longer bouts, vibration-group participants exhibited significantly lower sedentary time (–21.6 min/9 h, p = 0.045). Thus, vibration feedback does not appear to offer any advantages in reducing total sedentary time. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effects of School-Based Exergaming on Urban Children’s Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Quasi-Experimental Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4080; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214080 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Background: Modern-day technology is appealing to children. Few studies, however, have conducted longitudinal analyses of a school-based exergaming program’s effect on physical activity (PA) behaviors and fitness in children. Therefore, this study examined the longitudinal effect of an 8-month school-based exergaming intervention on [...] Read more.
Background: Modern-day technology is appealing to children. Few studies, however, have conducted longitudinal analyses of a school-based exergaming program’s effect on physical activity (PA) behaviors and fitness in children. Therefore, this study examined the longitudinal effect of an 8-month school-based exergaming intervention on children’s objectively-measured PA and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). Materials and Methods: Eighty-one fourth grade students ( X ¯ age = 9.23 ± 0.62; 39 girls; 54.3% African American, 30.9% Non-Hispanic White, 14.8% other) participated in this study from 2014–2015. The intervention school’s children participated in a once-weekly 50-min exergaming intervention during recess throughout the school year, while the control school continued regular recess. Children’s in-school PA and sedentary behavior (SB) were measured with ActiGraphGT3X+ accelerometers, with CRF assessed via the half-mile run. All measurements were taken at baseline, mid-intervention (four months) and post-intervention (eight months). Repeated-measures two-way ANCOVAs using age and race as covariates were conducted to examine between-school differences over time for SB, light PA (LPA), moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), and CRF. Results: Significant time by group interactions were observed for LPA, F(1, 79) = 7.82, η2 = 0.09, p < 0.01, and MVPA, F(1, 79) = 4.58, η2 = 0.06, p < 0.05, as LPA increased among the control group, while MVPA increased among intervention group. Children in both groups experienced decreased SB during the intervention (intervention: −7.63 min; control: −17.59 min), but demonstrated lower CRF over time (intervention: +46.73 s; control: +61.60 s). Conclusions: Observations suggested that school-based exergaming implementation may be effective in increasing children’s MVPA and decreasing their SB over the course an academic year (i.e., ~eight months). More research is needed, however, to discern how modifications to school-based exergaming might also promote improved CRF in children. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Self-Monitoring for Behavior Change in Youth: Findings from the SWITCH® School Wellness Feasibility Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203806 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health (SWITCH®) is a school wellness implementation initiative focused on building capacity for schools to plan and coordinate wellness programming. Grounded in Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), the purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility [...] Read more.
School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health (SWITCH®) is a school wellness implementation initiative focused on building capacity for schools to plan and coordinate wellness programming. Grounded in Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), the purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of the web-based, self-regulation system on physical activity (PA) behavior outcomes. At pre-test and post-test, students in SWITCH® schools (n = 8) completed the online Youth Activity Profile (YAP) to assess PA and sedentary behavior (SB). Students (n = 513) were categorized into high or low self-monitoring groups (using a median split) based on their use of the web-based self-regulation platform. Linear mixed models were used to assess differences in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and sedentary behavior, with school, classroom, student, time-by-school, and time-by-classroom random effects and main and interaction fixed effects for student self-monitoring, gender, and time. Significant self-monitoring-by-time interactions were observed for estimates of PA F(1, 477) = 5.55, p = 0.02 and SB F(1, 477) = 4.90, p = 0.03. Students in the high self-monitoring group had larger gains in PA per day and larger declines in hours per day of sedentary screen time behavior compared to students in the low self-monitoring group. These findings support the utility of web-based self-regulation for facilitating PA change in youth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Wearable Technology and Social Media to Improve Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors among College Students: A 12-Week Randomized Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193579 - 25 Sep 2019
Abstract
College students demonstrate poor physical activity (PA) and dietary behaviors. We evaluated the feasibility of a combined smartwatch and theoretically based, social media-delivered health education intervention versus a comparison on improving college students’ health behaviors/outcomes. Thirty-eight students (28 female; Xage = 21.5 [...] Read more.
College students demonstrate poor physical activity (PA) and dietary behaviors. We evaluated the feasibility of a combined smartwatch and theoretically based, social media-delivered health education intervention versus a comparison on improving college students’ health behaviors/outcomes. Thirty-eight students (28 female; Xage = 21.5 ± 3.4 years) participated in this two-arm, randomized 12-week pilot trial (2017–2018). Participants were randomized into: (a) experimental: Polar M400 use and twice-weekly social cognitive theory- and self-determination theory-based Facebook-delivered health education intervention; or (b) comparison: enrollment only in separate, but content-identical, Facebook intervention. Primary outcomes pertained to intervention feasibility. Secondary outcomes included accelerometer-estimated PA, physiological/psychosocial outcomes, and dietary behaviors. Intervention adherence was high (~86%), with a retention of 92.1%. Participants implemented health education tips 1–3 times per week. We observed experimental and comparison groups to have 4.2- and 1.6-min/day increases in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), respectively, at six weeks—partially maintained at 12 weeks. In both groups, similarly decreased body weight (experimental = −0.6 kg; comparison = −0.5 kg) and increased self-efficacy, social support, and intrinsic motivation were observed pre- and post-intervention. Finally, we observed small decreases in daily caloric consumption over time (experimental = −41.0 calories; comparison = −143.3). Both interventions were feasible/of interest to college students and demonstrated initial effectiveness at improving health behaviors/outcomes. However, smartwatch provision may not result in an additional benefit. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Rehabilitative Effects of Virtual Reality Games on Balance Performance among Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214161 - 28 Oct 2019
Abstract
This research aims to evaluate the effect of virtual reality (VR) games on balance recovery of children with cerebral palsy (CP) by quantitatively synthesizing the existing literature, and to further determine the impact of VR game intervention (the duration of each intervention, intervention [...] Read more.
This research aims to evaluate the effect of virtual reality (VR) games on balance recovery of children with cerebral palsy (CP) by quantitatively synthesizing the existing literature, and to further determine the impact of VR game intervention (the duration of each intervention, intervention frequency, intervention cycle, and total intervention time) on the balance recovery of children with CP. To this end, relevant literature up until 3 August 2019 was retrieved from Chinese databases (CNKI and Wanfang Data) and the databases in other languages (Web of Science, Pubmed, EBSCOhost, Informit, Scopus, Science Direct, and ProQuest), and bias analysis was conducted with the PEDro scale in this research. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were selected and underwent meta-analysis, and combined effect size was calculated with a random effects model. The results showed that VR games may improve the balance of children with CP (Hedge’s g = 0.29; 95% CI 0.10–0.48), and no significant influence of the intervention on balance of children with CP was shown in the subgroup analysis. In conclusion, VR games played a positive role in the improvement of balance of children with CP, but these results should be viewed with caution owing to current methodological defects (difference in measurement, heterogeneity of control groups, intervention combined with other treatments, etc.). Full article
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