What kinds of website and mobile phone-delivered physical activity and nutrition interventions do middle-aged men want?

Publication Date: 
Aug 16, 2013

Within a health context, men in Western societies are a hard-to-reach population who experience higher rates of chronic disease compared with women. Innovative technology-based interventions that specifically target men are needed; however, little is known about how these should be developed for this group. This study aimed to examine opinions and perceptions regarding the use of Internet and mobile phones to improve physical activity and nutrition behaviors for middle-aged men. The authors conducted 6 focus groups (n = 30) in Queensland, Australia. Their analyses identified 6 themes: (a) Internet experience, (b) website characteristics, (c) Web 2.0 applications, (d) website features, (e) self-monitoring, and (f) mobile phones as delivery method. The outcomes indicate that men support the use of the Internet to improve and self-monitor physical activity and dietary behaviors on the condition that the website-delivered interventions are quick and easy to use, because commitment levels to engage in online tasks are low. Participants also indicated that they were reluctant to use normal mobile phones to change health behaviors, although smartphones were perceived to be more acceptable. This pilot study suggests that there are viable avenues to engage middle-aged men in Internet- or in mobile-delivered health interventions. This study also suggests that to be successful, these interventions need to be tailor-made especially for men, with an emphasis on usability and convenience. A wider quantitative study would bring further support to these findings.