Physical Activity in an Underserved Population: Identifying Technology Preferences

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Medairos (Rmedairos@gmail.com) is corresponding author.