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This study aims to identify patterns of use and preferences related to technology platforms that could support physical activity (PA) programs in an underserved population.
A 29-item questionnaire was administered at 5 health and wellness sites targeting low income communities in Chicago. Frequency tables were generated for Internet, cell phone, and social media use and preferences. Chi-squared analysis was used to evaluate differences across age and income groups.
A total of 291 individuals participated and were predominantly female (69.0%). Majority reported incomes less than $30,000 (72.9%) and identified as African American/Black/Caribbean (49.3%) or Mexican/Mexican American (34.3%). Most participants regularly used smartphones (63.2%) and the Internet (75.9%). Respondents frequently used Facebook (84.8%), and less commonly used Instagram (43.6%), and Twitter (20.0%). Free Internet-based exercise programs were the most preferred method to increase PA levels (31.6%), while some respondents (21.0%) thought none of the surveyed technology applications would help.
Cell phone, Internet, and social media use is common among the surveyed underserved population. Technology preferences to increase PA levels varied, with a considerable number of respondents not preferring the surveyed technology platforms. Creating educational opportunities to increase awareness may maximize the effectiveness of technology-based PA interventions.
The authors are with the Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.