Effectiveness of a Facebook-Delivered Physical Activity Intervention for Postpartum Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Facebook has over 1.8 billion users and offers unique opportunities for health intervention delivery due to its popularity, flexibility, high engagement, and social connectedness. Methods: This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of the Mums Step It Up (MSIU) Facebook app, a team-based, 50-day physical activity intervention for postpartum women. A total of 120 postpartum women were recruited and randomly allocated to 1 of 3 conditions: MSIU (n = 41), pedometer only (n = 39), and control (n = 40). Assessments were completed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 6 months. Primary outcomes were accelerometer moderate to vigorous physical activity and self-reported walking. Analyses were undertaken on an intention to treat basis using random effects mixed modeling (P ≤ .05). Compliance and engagement with the MSIU app were analyzed, descriptively. Results: There were no significant differences in changes in moderate to vigorous physical activity (P = .81, 6 wk; P = .91, 6 mo) or self-reported walking (P = .55, 6 wk; P = .90, 6 mo) across the 3 conditions. High engagement with the MSIU app was evident, with participants on average visiting the app 26 times and logging steps for 48/50 days. Conclusion: Although engagement with the MSIU app was promising, the nonsignificant results suggest that further work needs to be done to enhance efficacy for postpartum women.

Kernot, Olds, and Maher are with the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Physical Activity, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. Lewis is with the Discipline of Physiotherapy, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. Kernot, Olds, and Maher are also with the School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Kernot (Jocelyn.Kernot@unisa.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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