How can a Health and Fitness Mobile App lead you to a healthier life?
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University of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences
University of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
Citation of Original Publication
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While obesity-related diseases are affecting people around the world, health and fitness mobile apps have been developed in the effort for individuals to lose weight and improve their overall health. Throughout the past few years, many weight loss programs have begun, including coaching support either through one-on-one virtual sessions or by using automated coaching. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of automated coaching versus no interaction with a coach (human or automated) in mobile health and fitness apps on one’s motivation to develop healthy habits. Ten individuals between the age ranges of 18-54 were included in the study. The participants were assigned to two different mobile apps; the Lark app, which provided an automated coach (chatbot), and the Centr app, which does not offer a direct means of coaching support. All participants received weekly surveys for a total of four weeks and were encouraged to submit video diaries. The participants' weight was self-reported in the first and final weeks, along with their physical activity and feedback on the app's features throughout the study. At the end of the study, the amount of overall weight loss was minimal. Among the Lark group, only one participant lost weight. However, four out of the five participants from the Centr group lost weight, one of which lost 11 pounds. Even though the results on the scale varied across the two groups, this study also examined the features of each app, frequency of app use, and coaching to determine the impact on motivation to improve one’s healthy habits. Participants provided both positive and negative feedback of the Lark and Centr apps that can be applied to design strategies in the future of health and fitness mobile apps.