Using Electronic Diaries to Examine Physical Activity and Other Health Behaviors of Adults Age 50+

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This pilot investigation used portable electronic diaries to assess the physical activity and other health behaviors of 20 adults age 50+ (mean age = 61 years). Study aims were to examine whether computerized cognitive-behavioral strategies could increase adherence to the assessments, the acceptability of electronic diaries to assess everyday health, and the relationship between computerized physical activity assessments with a standardized physical activity measure. Although approximately two thirds of participants had never used an electronic diary, results indicated that a large majority (83%) reported enjoying the use of the electronic diaries, and most (72%) reported enjoying answering all of the health questions. The cognitive-behavioral strategies employed did not enhance assessment adherence, but electronic-diary-based activity levels corresponded more strongly with the poststudy standardized activity measure than the baseline standardized measure, providing evidence of temporal convergence. Findings suggest that the use of portable electronic technology in physical activity assessment of middle-aged and older adults deserves further study.

Atienza is with the Health Promotion Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20982-7335. Oliveira and King are with the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5705. Fogg is with the Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94309.