Promoting Physical Activity

Promoting Physical Activity

Physical activity is a central lifestyle component of guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease, but more than half of adults in the United States do not obtain ideal levels of this activity. “In the clinical setting, new approaches are needed to better promote and objectively track physical activity between the months that go by between patient visits,” says Seth S. Martin, MD, MHS, FACC. One such approach has been to use mobile health (mHealth) technology because it is convenient for patients and can accurately track physical activity through smartphone applications and wearable devices.   Testing an Intervention For a pilot study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Dr. Martin and colleagues tested the effect of using the mActive intervention, which is a fully automated, fully mobile, and physician‐designed mHealth strategy. The mActive intervention utilizes tracking and text messaging to provide individual encouragement and foster feedback loops to increase physical activity. These messages serve as gentle but persistent check-ins to remind patients to fit more exercise into their day. The trial followed 48 adults aged 18 to 69 who reported low levels of physical activity to their physicians over 1 month. Using a relatively inexpensive activity tracker, researchers measured baseline daily physical activity levels during the first week. Over the following two weeks, one-third of the control group had their activity levels tracked but could not view data on how much they moved. The remaining two-thirds of patients could freely view their daily activity levels, including total step count and aerobic activity levels, on their smartphones. Half of the intervention group also received automated but personalized text messages...

Text Reminders Deemed Helpful in Battling HIV

A meta-analysis of two trials indicates that weekly medication reminders sent via mobile phone text message to patients with HIV appear to be efficacious in enhancing antiretroviral therapy adherence. One trial also found that weekly text messages were efficacious in improving HIV viral load suppression. Abstract: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, April 18,...