Willingness of African American Men to Participate in mHealth Weight Management Programs
Delores C.S. James, PhD, RDN, LDN

The high rate of smartphone ownership as well as the high prevalence of obesity among African American men (AAM) offer opportunities to recruit them into gender-specific, tailored mobile health (mHealth) weight management programs and research. This study examined weight status, smartphone usage, and willingness to participate in mHealth weight management research among AAM. A self-administered survey was completed by a convenience sample of 311 AAM in north central Florida, United States. Participants received a $5 grocery store gift card. The mean BMI was 28.33 (SD, 6.7). Most (65.7%) were trying to lose weight or actively trying to not gain any more weight. Some (23.3%) reported that a physician told them to lose weight, and these men had a higher mean BMI than those who were not told to lose weight (p<0.0001). Most (65.0%) owned smartphones and used Facebook (72.0%) and YouTube (67.8%). Several (43.1%) expressed a willingness to participate in mHealth weight management research. Men who expressed a willingness had significantly higher BMI than those who did not (p<0.0001). Men also expressed willingness to participate in mHealth research that used text messages (62.0%), smartwatches/health trackers (55.0%), smartphone apps (51.4%), health tracking websites (32.8%), and online group support (21.5%). BMI was higher among those willing to participate in text-based research than those who were not (p=0.045). This study highlights the potential for recruiting AAM into mHealth weight management using a variety of tools and digital devices.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v7n4a3