142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Spaceship Launch: A community-driven technology intervention promoting physical activity in a low-income neighborhood

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Ashwini Ranade, MPH , Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Herman Saksono, S.T , College of Computer & Information Science, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Andrea Parker, PhD , College of Computer & Information Science, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Jessica Hoffman, PhD, NCSP , Department of Counseling & Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Geeta Kamarthi, MD , Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Catherine Wirth, MS , Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa, MD, PhD , Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Introduction: Physical inactivity significantly contributes to obesity and other chronic conditions. This study explores how technology can encourage physical activity among families in low-income neighborhoods by building social networks that encourage an active lifestyle.

Methods: Community-based participatory research methods were used to conduct a needs assessment in a low-income population. Participants were attendees at Family Gym, a community program that provides free, safe space for families to be active. Using focus groups, interviews, and surveys we evaluated the attitudes of the participants towards physical activity, the social cohesiveness of families at the Gym, and current family physical activity levels. Qualitative data were analyzed using the grounded theory method and descriptive statistics were computed for the quantitative data.

Results: Analysis revealed the need to: (1) help parents understand the impact of physical activity intensity on health; (2) build ties between families in the Gym; and (3) help families to increase physical activity together. To address these components, we iteratively designed a technology based exergame called Spaceship Launch, which is currently being tested at the Family Gym. Parent/child activity is objectively measured and translated into game points. The game uses an experiential learning framework to engage families and can be played both at home and in a public community setting like Family Gym.

Conclusion: The community-based design of a collaborative exergame that facilitates intra- and inter-family support for physical activity is innovative. Our research is a starting point for understanding how exergames can promote healthy behaviors in underserved populations.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe opportunities for enhancing existing community-based interventions that promote physical activity in the family and neighborhood contexts. Describe strategies for translating community needs into technology-based interventions that encourage physical activity in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Identify opportunities to build social networks that support healthy behaviors in underserved populations.

Keyword(s): Technology, Community-Based Research (CBPR)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience conducting research in the area of health promotion. My background in public health has provided me with skills necessary to make significant contributions to this project. My research interests are social and behavioral epidemiology, health education and program planning.I have been actively involved with the project from planning to implementation stages. I am a doctoral student in the population health program at Northeastern University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.