Topical Area: Obesity, Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
To assess the nutritional status & lifestyle behaviors and see the response of nutrition education delivery by smartphone technology among school going adolescents.
A cross-sectional analytical study design was conducted on total of 150 adolescents (aged 14-19 years) from private schools of Karachi (East) using multi-staged random sampling. Data was collected on adolescent’s socio-demographics, lifestyle behaviors, nutritional status and dietary behaviors. Based on the need for providing the health and nutrition literacy to our adolescent population through m-health, the smartphone app by the name of ‘Health and Nutrition Daily guidelines for Youth” ‘HANDY’ was developed for the project. Also, a brochure was designed which included the same information as the app, representing the conventional form of education. Participants were divided into two groups – Control group was provided information through brochures and the Intervention group was given brochures and Smartphone App.
Results : Majority of the students were from upper middle income group. Almost 30% adolescents were obese. Among lifestyle behaviors, 32% didn’t meet the criteria for 60 minutes of physical activity per day and excessive use of screen time ( >2 hours a day) was 70% among adolescents. According to WHO recommendation only 36.6% were consuming vegetable intake, whereas fruit consumption was slightly better (50.3%). Snacking between meals was also found to be very common (32%) amongst adolescents. Different type of processed food including carbonated beverages and junk food consumption varied between 22-48%. After the baseline information, the intervention group was exposed to smartphone app and brochure versus brochure only and results showed that 76% of the participants in the intervention group liked the smart-phone application versus 34% who preferred brochure for healthier lifestyle. This shows a promising result of smartphone App usage in adolescents for inculcating healthy lifestyle habits.
As it was a pilot project, the potentiality of the app was found to be highly encouraging. Thus, longitudinal study with larger sample size, will be beneficial to test the efficacy of this app in producing a healthy behavior change.
Funding Sources :
This project was funded by Scaling up Nutrition Academia and Research Pakistan, AusAid, and (ASK development).