Who is willing to use mHealth apps? A stage model approach

  • L. König
  • G. Sproesser
  • H. Schupp
  • B. Renner


Mobile technologies are promising means for motivating a large number of people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The present study investigated the readiness for behaviour change in the realm of nutrition and fitness apps use using a newly developed behaviour stage model for identifying a person's position in the change process. Participants (N = 1.236) were recruited within the longitudinal cohort study Konstanz Life Study. Readiness for changing nutrition and fitness apps use behaviour, healthy eating style, and preference for intuition and deliberation when choosing food (PID) were assessed using questionnaires. Results show that the majority of participants did not yet contemplate using a nutrition app or even decided against its use (50.6% and 18.2%). Conversely, only 28.6% did not yet contemplate using a fitness app and 20.3% decided against its use. In the planning stage were 6.6% (nutrition) and 9.0% (fitness). Nutrition/ fitness apps were currently used by 7.8%, respective 25.0%. Further 13.3% / 14.7% reported to have previously used a nutrition/ fitness app. Readiness for behaviour change differed as a function of age (F (4, 252.00/398.291) ≥ 15, p<.001), and PID (Fs (4, 1012) ≥ 7, ps<.001), indicating that younger participants and those who prefer a more deliberate decision style, are more ready to change. Using a stage model approach, users of available mHealth apps can be described and compared to non-users which in turn may inform the development of new digital interventions. Furthermore, the model may be used to predict stage transitions.
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