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ASU's College of Health Solutions tests strategies to help people get off their screens and on their feet

Join a new research study that encourages healthy activity

Person holding a smartphone

Your screens could help you get more active with a new ASU study. Photo by Pixabay

June 29, 2021

You know you need to be active for good health, but maybe the pandemic caused you to spend a little too much time sitting in front of a screen watching television, checking your phone or playing video games.

Here’s a chance to use technology to help you sit less and move more. 

Researchers at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions and California Polytechnic State University are looking for about 250 volunteers to test the effectiveness of a new smartphone app aimed at encouraging people to get off their screens and get on their feet. 

The StandUPTV app is part of a 16-week study to test strategies that can help people reduce their sedentary screen time, or time spent sitting while watching a TV, phone or tablet. Volunteers will be given a Fitbit to help them monitor their activity level while the app keeps track of their sedentary screen time and delivers reminders and suggestions for alternate activities. Volunteers will also wear additional sensors to record movement and will complete questionnaires to assess the app’s overall effectiveness. 

The study is focusing on people’s screen time outside of working hours.

“Even though most people know that sitting too much is bad for your health, the average American spends three-and-a-half hours or more per day in front of a screen watching television, scrolling social media or playing video games, and they’re sitting most of that time, so we think it’s a natural place for individuals to start to reduce their overall sitting,” said ASU College of Health Solutions Professor Matt Buman, one of the study’s lead investigators.

Developing effective, research-based interventions to reduce screen time will help scientists accurately assess how much of a reduction is needed to improve health.

“There are few known and effective strategies for reducing sedentary screen time, so it’s difficult to accurately estimate the health benefits that reducing that time may have on chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes, although there are strong indications that it has a profound effect,” Buman said, adding that results of the study will help scientists form public health guidelines that complement existing recommendations about how much physical activity and sleep and what type of diet are needed for optimal health. 

Study participation is completely remote. The Fitbit and activity monitors will send data electronically, all the questionnaires will be online, and communication will take place via phone, text or video chat. To qualify for the StandUPTV study, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 23 and 64.
  • Own a smartphone or tablet.
  • Have internet access and/or an unlimited data plan.

Visit the study website for more information and to complete a short survey to see if you qualify for the study.

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