Use of Cell Phone Technology Among Fitness Trainers in the Treasure Valley
Dr. Elaine Long
Inactivity has been implicated in the growing epidemic of life-style diseases like coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes; and it was the second leading actual cause of death in the U.S. in 2000 (tobacco use was the number one actual cause) according to Mokdad, Marks, Stroup, and Gerberding (2005). Recent research using mobile-phone technology and more specifically text messaging to encourage individuals to adhere to health-related programs has shown much promise (Patrick, Griswold, Raab & Intille, 2008). Results have shown text messaging can improve adherence to physical activity programs, weight loss programs, and diabetes programs (Franklin, Waller, Pagliarit & Greene, 2006; Hurling, Catt, Bonie, Fairley, Hurst, Murray, Richardson & Sodhi, 2007; Patrick, Griswold, Raab & Intille, 2008; Patrick, Raab, Adams, Dillon, Zabinski, Rock, Griswold & Norman, 2009). Fifty surveys were distributed to fitness trainers throughout the Treasure Valley and 28 were returned. Seventy-six percent of personal trainers use cell phone technology with clients. The two most common uses of mobile phone technology reported were personal phone calls and text messaging. Seventy percent of personal trainers use one or both methods. Less than 20% of the trainers used special applications. Qualitative measures were used to examine the most common perceived benefits of cell phone technology. The most popular uses were to improve client accountability and for appointment reminders. Data supported previous research results. Twenty-two personal trainers surveyed believed text messaging improved client adherence to a program. Eighty-six percent of the personal trainers surveyed believed cell phone technology/text messaging will become a required tool in their profession. This study was reviewed and approved by the Boise State University Human Subjects Research and Institutional Review Board # 193-10-025.