Chronic disease risks and use of a smartphone application during a physical activity and dietary intervention in Australian truck drivers

Nicholas D. Gilson*, Toby G. Pavey, Corneel Vandelanotte, Mitch J. Duncan, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Stewart G. Trost, Wendy J. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study examined chronic disease risks and the use of a smartphone activity tracking application during an intervention in Australian truck drivers (April-October 2014). Methods: Forty-four men (mean age=47.5 [SD 9.8] years) completed baseline health measures, and were subsequently offered access to a free wrist-worn activity tracker and smartphone application (Jawbone UP) to monitor step counts and dietary choices during a 20-week intervention. Chronic disease risks were evaluated against guidelines; weekly step count and dietary logs registered by drivers in the application were analysed to evaluate use of the Jawbone UP. Results: Chronic disease risks were high (e.g. 97% high waist circumference [≥94 cm]). Eighteen drivers (41%) did not start the intervention; smartphone technical barriers were the main reason for drop out. Across 20-weeks, drivers who used the Jawbone UP logged step counts for an average of 6 [SD 1] days/week; mean step counts remained consistent across the intervention (weeks 1-4=8,743[SD 2,867] steps/day; weeks 17-20=8,994[SD 3,478] steps/day). The median number of dietary logs significantly decreased from start (17 [IQR 38] logs/weeks) to end of the intervention (0 [IQR 23] logs/week; p<0.01); the median proportion of healthy diet choices relative to total diet choices logged increased across the intervention (weeks 1-4=38[IQR 21]%; weeks 17-20=58[IQR 18]%). Conclusions: Step counts were more successfully monitored than dietary choices in those drivers who used the Jawbone UP. Implications: Smartphone technology facilitated active living and healthy dietary choices, but also prohibited intervention engagement in a number of these high-risk Australian truck drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-93
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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