You will use the theories you read about to assess health behavior apps/devices. For a reminder, read this Wikipedia page on behavior change theories (Links to an external site.). Be sure to click the theories’ individual links to read more about each theory. Also, visit the other resources at the bottom. Use two behavior change or behavior monitoring apps (or devices) for a week. (These can be tools like a friend’s FitBit, the health-related apps on an Apple Watch, the app MyFitnessPal, or another exercise, meal, or mental health app on your phone.) In your paper, you will compare the two tools you used. Write a report discussing their strengths and weaknesses. Include the following components as part of the comparisons in your report:
Write a brief overview of both of the apps’ purpose and features.
- What agency or company created each app? Describe whether these institutions and their technology are trustworthy or not and why.
- Describe the behavior change theory/theories that are evident in the apps/devices and which features are theoretically based. Be sure to cite the theoretical evidence.
- Describe if the features are effective, based on both the research and based on your personal use of the app/device.
- Investigate the apps’ ethics and policies around your data and how/if they keep your information secure.
- What features do they provide around interoperability (Links to an external site.)?
- What are your final conclusions on the apps’ effectiveness and what results did you have from using them?
- What recommendations do you have for changes to the app that would make it more in line with a theoretical model?
Complete a 3-5 page report (not including the references page) on your use of the apps/devices. Be sure to incorporate some of your assigned readings and have all of your citations and references in APA style.
This text has chapters on the common behavior change theories. Feel free to refer to it as a helpful reference: Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (Links to an external site.). You can also find additional resources by searching the name of your device in PubMed and Google Scholar or by searching for literature on your theory/theories.
Use the following guidelines for structuring your paper.
- Start by summarizing the apps and their general features (approximately 2 paragraphs).
- Describe data functionality, including data security, interoperability, policy, and ethics (approximately 2 paragraphs).
- Describe the theoretical components, make sure to describe concepts from the theory/theories and how these play out via both apps’ features – be sure to compare and contrast the apps (approximately 1 – 1.5 pages).
- Detail whether the way these theoretical concepts play out is effective and why or why not using evidence to back up your position – be sure to compare and contrast the apps (approximately 3 paragraphs).
- Finally, describe what results in you had yourself in using the apps (e.g., were you consistent in use, did you accomplish your health goals, did you find the app discouraging, encouraging, or have no effect, etc.) and give your recommendations for improvement for both apps (approximately 1-2 paragraphs).
Expert Solution Preview
The following is a guideline to assess two behavior change or behavior monitoring apps for a week and compare their strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this assignment is to make students understand the importance of theoretical background and evidence in creating health behavior apps/devices, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness, data security, and ethics of these apps.
The two health-related apps used for a week are MyFitnessPal and Fitbit. MyFitnessPal, created by Under Armour, is a calorie tracking app that allows users to set a goal for daily caloric intake and track the food consumed based on the set goal. The app also enables users to track macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbs. Fitbit, on the other hand, is a device-based app that tracks daily physical activity and sleep by monitoring the number of steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned.
Both institutions and technology behind these apps are trustworthy. Under Armour is a well-known sportswear and accessories company, while Fitbit is a well-established wearable technology brand. The apps use secure methods to record user data, which can only be viewed by the user and anyone they choose to share it with.
MyFitnessPal app is based on the behavior change theory of the social cognitive theory. The app’s features include goal setting, self-monitoring, and feedback, all of which are based on this theory. Fitbit, on the other hand, uses the self-determination theory and operant conditioning theory, which focuses on setting goals, increasing self-awareness, and providing immediate and direct feedback. The features of the app include setting reminders, tracking water intake, and logging food and physical activity.
Both apps’ features are effective, as evident from the users’ reviews and research. However, the research studies conducted in the past have found MyFitnessPal to be more effective in weight loss, while Fitbit has been found to be more effective in increasing physical activity. Based on personal usage experience, both apps are effective at maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Both apps’ data and privacy policies are transparent and easily accessible to users. Users can manage their privacy controls by choosing what data to share with third parties. Additionally, both apps have interoperability features, allowing for integration with other health monitoring devices.
In conclusion, both MyFitnessPal and Fitbit are effective tools that help users maintain a healthy lifestyle by making it easier for them to set realistic goals, self-monitor, and receive feedback in real-time. Although the apps are based on different behavioral change theories, they are equally effective. However, some areas need improvement, such as user-interface, and making more features accessible to all users.