Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 156
Objectives: Many programs engage people in health behavior monitoring, but most target specific behaviors (e.g., physical activity, diet) or outcomes (e.g., weight loss, smoking cessation) rather than wellness. This study assessed the effectiveness of a web-based health challenge focused on overall wellness, with or without peer support.
Methods: Participants (n=100) were recruited through a university faculty/staff fitness program for a 6-week challenge consisting of daily tracking of 15 habits targeting diet, activity, sleep, stress, oral health, and other health behaviors. Participants were randomized to participate individually or with added peer support components. Height and weight were measured and health behavior surveys were administered pre-challenge, immediately post-challenge, and six weeks post-challenge.
Results: For most variables, there was no effect of group assignment. For the following variables, there was a significant time effect overall when groups were combined: increased intake of fiber (p<0.0005), whole grains (p<0.0005), fruit (p=0.003), vegetables and legumes including fries (p<0.0005) and decreased added sugar intake (p=0.002); increased flossing (p<0.0005); improved perceived stress scores (p<0.0005); and increased total physical activity (p<0.001). When only pre- and post-challenge time points were analyzed (i.e., excluding follow-up data), the following variables significantly improved: hours of sleep, vigorous physical activity, and body mass index. Qualitative data suggest the challenge was well-received by participants with many self-reported benefits, including more energy, better sleep, less back pain, and some weight loss.
Conclusions: This health challenge model may be an effective approach to change health habits. Further analyses and additional controlled trials are needed to understand the efficacy and the role of peer support.
Oregon State University