Friday December 13, 2019

Smartphone App to Boost Physical Activity in Women Shows Promise in Trial

The app increased the participants’ activity goals by 20 percent each week to 10,000 steps daily

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Women participate in a fitness class lead by Kira Stokes, right, at NYSC Lab in New York, May 11, 2017. VOA

A mobile phone application designed to boost physical activity for inactive women has shown promise in a trial.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, shows that the mobile app created for women did help when combined with an activity tracker and personal counselling.

“We showed that if you design an activity app using an evidence-based approach, it will be more effective,” said study lead author Yoshimi Fukuoka, Professor at the University of California in the US.

“Our findings could go a long way to get more people to move, particularly women,” Fukuoka said.

The study, which lasted nine months, was called the mobile phone based physical activity education (mPED) trial.

The app, which was developed exclusively for the study and is not commercially available, had three main functions, including a pre-programmed interactive daily message or video that reinforced what was learned during a beginning counselling session, and a daily activity diary to record progress.

A physically fit women(representational image). Pixabay

The research team designed their app specifically for physically inactive women, incorporating behavioural change strategies known to work well for this group, such as personalised goal setting, self-monitoring, social support and feedback.

The app had three main functions, including a pre-programmed interactive daily message or video that reinforced what was learned during a beginning counselling session, and a daily activity diary to record progress.

The trial involved 210 physically inactive women, aged 25 and 65.

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The app increased the participants’ activity goals by 20 percent each week to 10,000 steps daily.

These findings showed that the women were able to sustain an impressive level of activity above their starting point with the help of the app. (IANS)

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Instagram Helps Women to Overcome Miscarriage Distress: Study

The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians

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Instagram
As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage. Pixabay

Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the content posted by Instagram users included rich descriptions of the medical and physical experiences of miscarriage, and the emotional spectrum of having a miscarriage and coping with those emotions, the social aspect, and family identity.

“I find it endlessly fascinating that women are opening up to essentially strangers about things that they hadn’t even told their partners or families,” says Dr. Riley. “But this is how powerful this community is,” said Amy Henderson Riley, Assistant Professor at the Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, US.

The findings are based on a qualitative research study on 200 posts of text and pictures shared by Instagram users.

“What surprised me the most was how many women and their partners identified as parents after their miscarriage and how the miscarriage lasted into their family identity after a successful pregnancy,” said Rebecca Mercier, Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University.

“The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians,” Mercier said.

These personal accounts also provided insight into patients’ perspectives of typically defined experiences.

For example, in the clinic, the typical definition of recurrent pregnancy loss is after three pregnancies. However, the researchers found that many patients who had had two or more miscarriages identified with having recurrent pregnancy loss.

Instagram
Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says. Pixabay

“I’m hoping that this study will encourage clinicians to point patients to social media as a potential coping tool, as well as to approach this subject with bereaved and expecting parents with more respect and empathy,” Mercier said.

Social media is becoming a common avenue for patient testimonials. For example, the short video-sharing platform TikTok has recently become a home for some users to make videos sharing their personal health struggles.

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“As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage,” Riley said.

“But this is a drop in the bucket. Social media platforms are evolving rapidly and a theoretically grounded research must follow,” she added. (IANS)