A health plan – over your mobile phone

VOLUNTEERS are being offered the chance to strive for a slimmer and fitter lifestyle by looking at their mobile phones – while being paid expenses for their time.

Researchers at Swansea and Cardiff Universities are developing a web-based health programme funded with £442,492 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The idea is to develop it into a smartphone app for use across the world. The two universities are looking for people across South Wales to be the first to use the development programme.

Researchers say it differs from other healthy living programmes in that it focuses on “the psychology of change” with input from psychology experts from both Welsh universities.

Dr Katy Tapper, Professor Greg Maio, Professor Geoff Haddock and Dr Mike Lewis, have developed the four-stage “Health Values” programme to encourage people to eat more healthily.

Dr Tapper said: “We’re interested in finding out whether some fairly brief tasks can help encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles.”

The programme consists of four main parts.

Dr Tapper added: “In part one we give participants some feedback about their diets, along with some general dietary advice.

“In part two, we ask them to think a bit more deeply about health-related issues. Part three asks participants to make specific plans to change particular behaviours, and in part four we give participants the options to repeat tasks, work on more plans and view weekly tips.

“Our programme is different to others as it focuses on the psychology of behaviour change.

“In particular we’re interested in the factors that might motivate us to change and the processes that can help us stick to our good intentions.

“It’s important to us that the programme is evidenced-base so all the tasks we use have been shown to help individuals change their behaviour.

“These initial studies will help us determine whether these tasks are also effective when applied to dietary behaviours and delivered via the internet.

“We’ll be launching an online-only version of the study in the autumn.

“If the results of this initial research are promising we hope to further develop and refine the programme and eventually extend the work to a smartphone app.”

If you would like to take part in the research, please contact the team who would be happy to discuss the project further with you, on 07950 136 663, or email: healthvalues@swansea.ac.uk.

You will need to be over the age of 18, not currently pregnant, and have an email account and access to the internet.

Participants, who will be reimbursed for any costs, will also need to be able to attend three lab-based sessions at either Swansea or Cardiff University

Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/03/22/a-health-plan-over-your-mobile-phone-91466-30597063/
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