Twitter-Based Social Support Added to Fitbit Self-Monitoring for Decreasing Sedentary Behavior: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial With Female Patients From a Women's Heart Clinic. JMIR research protocols Oppezzo, M. n., Tremmel, J. n., Desai, M. n., Baiocchi, M. n., Ramo, D. n., Cullen, M. n., Prochaska, J. J. 2020; 9 (12): e20926


Prolonged sitting is an independent risk behavior for the development of chronic disease. With most interventions focusing on physical activity and exercise, there is a separate need for investigation into innovative and accessible interventions to decrease sedentary behavior throughout the day. Twitter is a social media platform with application for health communications and fostering of social support for health behavior change.This pilot study aims to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of delivering daily behavior change strategies within private Twitter groups to foster peer-to-peer support and decrease sedentary behavior throughout the day in women. The Twitter group was combined with a Fitbit for self-monitoring activity and compared to a Fitbit-only control group.In a 2-group design, participants were randomized to a Twitter + Fitbit treatment group or a Fitbit-only control group. Participants were recruited via the Stanford Research Repository System, screened for eligibility, and then invited to an orientation session. After providing informed consent, they were randomized. All participants received 13 weeks of tailored weekly step goals and a Fitbit. The treatment group participants, placed in a private Twitter support group, received daily automated behavior change "tweets" informed by theory and regular automated encouragement via text to communicate with the group. Fitbit data were collected daily throughout the treatment and follow-up period. Web-based surveys and accelerometer data were collected at baseline, treatment end (13 weeks), and at 8.5 weeks after the treatment.The initial study design funding was obtained from the Women's Heart Clinic and the Stanford Clayman Institute. Funding to run this pilot study was received from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under Award Number K01HL136702. All procedures were approved by Stanford University's Institutional Review Board, #32127 in 2018, prior to beginning data collection. Recruitment for this study was conducted in May 2019. Of the 858 people screened, 113 met the eligibility criteria, 68 came to an information session, and 45 consented to participate in this pilot study. One participant dropped out of the intervention, and complete follow-up data were obtained from 39 of the 45 participants (87% of the sample). Data were collected over 6 months from June to December 2019. Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy results are being analyzed and will be reported in the winter of 2021.This pilot study is assessing the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of delivering behavior change strategies in a Twitter social support group to decrease sedentary behavior in women. These findings will inform a larger evaluation. With an accessible, tailorable, and flexible platform, Twitter-delivered interventions offer potential for many treatment variations and titrations, thereby testing the effects of different behavior change strategies, peer-group makeups, and health behaviors of NCT02958189,

View details for DOI 10.2196/20926

View details for PubMedID 33275104