Individual and Group-Based Engagement in an Online Physical Activity Monitoring Program in Georgia.
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INTRODUCTION: Given the rising prevalence of obesity in the United States, innovative methods are needed to increase physical activity (PA) in community settings. Evidence suggests that individuals are more likely to engage in PA if they are given a choice of activities and have support from others (for encouragement, motivation, and accountability). The objective of this study was to describe the use of the online Walk Georgia PA tracking platform according to whether the user was an individual user or group user. METHODS: Walk Georgia is a free, interactive online tracking platform that enables users to log PA by duration, activity, and perceived difficulty, and then converts these data into points based on metabolic equivalents. Users join individually or in groups and are encouraged to set weekly PA goals. Data were examined for 6,639 users (65.8% were group users) over 28 months. We used independent sample t tests and Mann-Whitney U tests to compare means between individual and group users. Two linear regression models were fitted to identify factors associated with activity logging. RESULTS: Users logged 218,766 activities (15,119,249 minutes of PA spanning 592,714 miles [41,858,446 points]). On average, group users had created accounts more recently than individual users (P < .001); however, group users logged more activities (P < .001). On average, group users logged more minutes of PA (P < .001) and earned more points (P < .001). Being in a group was associated with a larger proportion of weeks in which 150 minutes or more of weekly PA was logged (B = 20.47, P < .001). CONCLUSION: Use of Walk Georgia was significantly higher among group users than among individual users. To expand use and dissemination of online tracking of PA, programs should target naturally occurring groups (eg, workplaces, schools, faith-based groups).
author list (cited authors)
Smith, M. L., Durrett, N. K., Bowie, M., Berg, A., McCullick, B. A., LoPilato, A. C., & Murray, D.
complete list of authors
Smith, Matthew Lee||Durrett, Nicholas K||Bowie, Maria||Berg, Alison||McCullick, Bryan A||LoPilato, Alexander C||Murray, Deborah