Online Fitness Tool Users Want Images Similar to Themselves

Findings based on recommendations from young overweight African-American women

FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Incorporating images that reflect the user may make Internet-based physical activity promotion tools more acceptable to users, including young overweight African-American women, according to a study published Jan. 16 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Nefertiti H. Durant, M.D., from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues utilized nominal group technique (13 women) and traditional focus groups (16 women) to generate recommendations from female university students (aged 19 to 30 years) for the development of an Internet-based physical activity promotion tool. Focus groups were used to confirm and elaborate upon themes identified in the nominal group technique sessions.

The researchers found that the recommended features for a culturally relevant Internet-based physical activity promotion tool were: personalized website pages, diverse body images, motivational stories utilizing women similar in size and body shape, tips on hair care maintenance during physical activity, and online social media support.

"Incorporating existing social media tools and motivational stories from young adult African-American women in Internet-based tools may increase the feasibility, acceptability, and success of Internet-based physical activity programs in this high-risk, understudied population," the authors write.

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