A Smartphone App to Support Sedentary Behavior Change by Visualizing Personal Mobility Patterns and Action Planning (SedVis): Development and Pilot Study

Yunlong Wang, Laura M. Koenig, Harald Reiterer

Given the high prevalence of sedentary behavior in daily life, simple yet practical solutions for behavior change are needed to avoid detrimental health effects. The mobile app SedVis was developed based on the health action process approach. The app provides personal mobility pattern visualization (for both physical activity and sedentary behavior) and action planning for sedentary behavior change. The primary aim of the study is to investigate the effect of mobility pattern visualization on users' action planning for changing their sedentary behavior. The secondary aim is to evaluate user engagement with the visualization and user experience of the app. In a 3-week user study, participants were allocated to either an active control group (n=8) or an intervention group (n=8). In the 1-week baseline period, none of the participants had access to the functions in the app. In the following 2-week intervention period, only the intervention group was given access to the visualizations, whereas both groups were asked to make action plans every day and reduce their sedentary behavior. The results suggested that the visualizations in SedVis had no effect on the participants' action planning according to both the NHST and Bayesian statistics. The intervention involving visualizations and action planning in SedVis had a positive effect on reducing participants' sedentary hours, with weak evidence according to Bayesian statistics, whereas no change in sedentary time was more likely in the active control condition. Furthermore, Bayesian analysis weakly suggested that the more frequently the users checked the app, the more likely they were to reduce their sedentary behavior.

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