Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Career and Technology Education (MCTE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Community and Leadership Development

First Advisor

Dr. Kang Namkoong

Abstract

Obesity is a widespread topic across the country as healthcare costs continue to rise. The field of health communication encompasses many efforts made by scholars and those working in health education and promotion to help individuals live healthier lives. As technology continues to evolve, e-health and mobile health programs are being explored as creative avenues for this endeavor. This study takes a mixed methods approach consisting of an experiment and a series of in-depth interviews. Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, the experiment examines the effects of a popular mobile phone application, “my fitness pal,” on the users’ attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control of health behaviors. The interviews investigate how and why the mobile application has health benefits. There were 35 University of Kentucky employees who participated, and then a few follow-up interviews were conducted. Although, several hypotheses were not supported by the data, the results show there was an increase in the overall health statuses of participants encouraged to interact with co-workers about the mobile application through social media as well as face-to-face communication. Several applications can be taken from this study in order to improve future mobile health applications and workplace health and wellness programs.

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