Feasibility of gamified mobile service aimed at physical activation in young men : population-based randomized controlled study (MOPO)
Leinonen, Anna-Maiju; Pyky, Riitta; Ahola, Riikka; Kangas, Maarit; Siirtola, Pekka; Luoto, Tim; Enwald, Heidi; Ikäheimo, Tiina M; Röning, Juha; Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka; Mäntysaari, Matti; Korpelainen, Raija; Jämsä, Timo (2017-10-10)
Leinonen AM, Pyky R, Ahola R, Kangas M, Siirtola P, Luoto T, Enwald H, Ikäheimo TM, Röning J, Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi S, Mäntysaari M, Korpelainen R, Jämsä T Feasibility of Gamified Mobile Service Aimed at Physical Activation in Young Men: Population-Based Randomized Controlled Study (MOPO), JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2017;5(10):e146, URL: https://mhealth.jmir.org/2017/10/e146/, doi:10.2196/mhealth.6675, PMID:29017991
©Anna-Maiju Leinonen, Riitta Pyky, Riikka Ahola, Maarit Kangas, Pekka Siirtola, Tim Luoto, Heidi Enwald, Tiina M Ikäheimo, Juha Röning, Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, Matti Mäntysaari, Raija Korpelainen, Timo Jämsä. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 10.10.2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Background: The majority of young people do not meet the recommendations on physical activity for health. New innovative ways to motivate young people to adopt a physically active lifestyle are needed.
Objective: The study aimed to study the feasibility of an automated, gamified, tailored Web-based mobile service aimed at physical and social activation among young men.
Methods: A population-based sample of 496 young men (mean age 17.8 years [standard deviation 0.6]) participated in a 6-month randomized controlled trial (MOPO study). Participants were randomized to an intervention (n=250) and a control group (n=246).The intervention group was given a wrist-worn physical activity monitor (Polar Active) with physical activity feedback and access to a gamified Web-based mobile service, providing fitness guidelines, tailored health information, advice of youth services, social networking, and feedback on physical activity. Through the trial, the physical activity of the men in the control group was measured continuously with an otherwise similar monitor but providing only the time of day and no feedback. The primary outcome was the feasibility of the service based on log data and questionnaires. Among completers, we also analyzed the change in anthropometry and fitness between baseline and 6 months and the change over time in weekly time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Results: Mobile service users considered the various functionalities related to physical activity important. However, compliance of the service was limited, with 161 (64.4%, 161/250) participants visiting the service, 118 (47.2%, 118/250) logging in more than once, and 41 (16.4%, 41/250) more than 5 times. Baseline sedentary time was higher in those who uploaded physical activity data until the end of the trial (P=.02). A total of 187 (74.8%, 187/250) participants in the intervention and 167 (67.9%, 167/246) in the control group participated in the final measurements. There were no differences in the change in anthropometry and fitness from baseline between the groups, whereas waist circumference was reduced in the most inactive men within the intervention group (P=.01). Among completers with valid physical activity data (n=167), there was a borderline difference in the change in mean daily time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity between the groups (11.9 min vs −9.1 min, P=.055, linear mixed model). Within the intervention group (n=87), baseline vigorous physical activity was inversely associated with change in moderate to vigorous physical activity during the trial (R=−.382, P=.01).
Conclusions: The various functionalities related to physical activity of the gamified tailored mobile service were considered important. However, the compliance was limited. Within the current setup, the mobile service had no effect on anthropometry or fitness, except reduced waist circumference in the most inactive men. Among completers with valid physical activity data, the trial had a borderline positive effect on moderate to vigorous physical activity. Further development is needed to improve the feasibility and adherence of an integrated multifunctional service.
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