Abstract P264: Young Adults, Technology, and Weight Loss: A Focus Group Study
Overweight and obesity are major health concerns in young adults. Technology has been integrated into weight loss interventions, however little is known about the effective use of this technology in young adults. The purpose of this study was to explore through focus groups the opinions of young adults on the use of technology and text messaging for weight loss as well knowledge and attitudes towards healthy eating and physical activity. Three focus group sessions were conducted with 17 young adults who wanted to lose weight or maintain weight. One moderator used a single discussion guide with questions to address the topics. Sessions were taped and the discussion was transcribed Two investigators conducted a qualitative analysis using a process of thematic analysis. Categories from each topic were combined to form themes, which provided a comprehensive view of the data. Ages of participants ranged from 18-25 years (mean=21 years). Across all focus groups 59% were female, and 76% were minorities. Five themes evolved from the discussions 1) Freedom to choose often equals overweight and obesity, 2) Priorities are key, 3) Squash the rumors and talk with an expert, 4) Give me an app that does it all, and 5) Personalize messages or risk being ignored. Participants had little knowledge but great interest in the use of Smartphone technology for weight loss. Results also indicated that young adults struggle to make healthy food choices, have priorities that outweigh regular exercise, and need support and guidance to make better decisions to facilitate weight management. Future research should focus on testing the effectiveness of interventions that empower overweight and obese young adults through personalized technology along with expert coaching.
Author Disclosures: J. Stephens: None. J. Allen: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.