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Experiences from a web- and app-based workplace health promotion intervention among employees in the social and health care sector based on use-data and qualitative interviews

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

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Nina Charlotte Balk-Møller, Thomas Meinert Larsen, Lotte Holm

BACKGROUND: An increasing number of Web- and app-based tools for health promotion are being developed at the moment. The ambition is generally to reach out to a larger part of the population and to help users improve their lifestyle and develop healthier habits, and thereby improve their health status. However, the positive effects are generally modest. To understand why the effects are modest, further investigation into the participants' experiences and the social aspects of using Web- and app-based health promotion tools is needed.

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to investigate the motivation behind taking part in and using a Web- and app-based health promotion tool (SoSu-life) at the workplace and to explore the participants' experiences with using the tool.

METHODS: Qualitative interviews with 26 participants who participated in a 38-week randomized controlled trial of a workplace Web- and app-based tool for health promotion were conducted. Data were supplemented with tracking the frequency of use. The basic features of the tool investigated in the trial were self-reporting of diet and exercise, personalized feedback, suggestions for activities and programs, practical tips and tricks, and a series of social features designed to support and build interactions among the participants at the workplace.

RESULTS: The respondents reported typically one of the two reasons for signing up to participate in the study: either a personal wish to attain some health benefits or the more social reason that participants did not want to miss out on the social interaction with colleagues. Peer pressure from colleagues had made some participants to sign up even though they did not believe they had an unhealthy behavior. Of the total of 355 participants in the intervention group, 203 (57.2%) left the intervention before it ended. Of the remaining participants, most did not use the tool after the competition at the end of the initial 16-week period. The actual number of active users of the tool throughout the whole intervention period was low; however, the participants reported that lifestyle habits became a topic of conversation.

CONCLUSIONS: A tool that addresses group interactions at workplaces appears to initiate peer pressure, which helped recruitment for participation. However, active participation was low. A social change was indicated, allowing for more interaction among colleagues around healthy lifestyle issues. Future and more long-term studies are needed to determine whether such social changes could lead to sustained improvements of health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere350
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume19
Issue number10
Number of pages12
ISSN1438-8871
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Oct 2017

    Research areas

  • eHealth, Health promotion, Workplace, Smartphone, Weight reduction programs, Internet, Qualitative research

ID: 184877504