Technology for Behavioral Change in Rural Older Adults with Obesity


John A. Batsis, John A. Naslund, Alexandra B. Zagaria, David Kotz, Rachel Dokko, Stephen J. Bartels, and Elizabeth Carpenter-Song. Technology for Behavioral Change in Rural Older Adults with Obesity. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics, volume 38, number 2, pages 130–148. Taylor & Francis, April 2019. doi:10.1080/21551197.2019.1600097. ©Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Background: Mobile health (mHealth) technologies comprise a multidisciplinary treatment strategy providing potential solutions for overcoming challenges of successfully delivering health promotion interventions in rural areas. We evaluated the potential of using technology in a high-risk population.

Methods: We conducted a convergent, parallel mixed-methods study using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and self-reported questionnaires, using purposive sampling of 29 older adults, 4 community leaders and 7 clinicians in a rural setting. We developed codes informed by thematic analysis and assessed the quantitative data using descriptive statistics.

Results: All groups expressed that mHealth could improve health behaviors. Older adults were optimistic that mHealth could track health. Participants believed they could improve patient insight into health, motivating change and assuring accountability. Barriers to using technology were described, including infrastructure.

Conclusions: Older rural adults with obesity expressed excitement about the use of mHealth technologies to improve their health, yet barriers to implementation exist.

Citable with [BibTeX]

Projects: [amulet]

Keywords: [mhealth] [sensors] [wearable]

Available from the publisher: [DOI]

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[Kotz research]