Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mobile Motivation for Adolescents to Promote Wellness #mHealth

Today is the last day of the 2nd International mHealth Networking Conference. As a physician champion for the HCPLive Network, I'm excited to blog about some of the highlights from this meeting. You can also follow updates about the mHealth Networking Conference on

This afternoon, I attended a session titled, "Mobile Motivation for Adolescents to Promote Wellness." The presenters were Tara Cousineau, PhD, Founder of BodiMojo and Carol Torgan PhD. a heath community web site for teens created in collaboration with teens and health experts. With initial funding from a National Institutes of Health grant, BodiMojo built a platform that teens believe will work.
We know that 25 million teens are unhappy with their bodies. Up to 12 million teens are engaging in problematic weight management behaviors. There are opportunities to focus on prevention when it comes to teens. But, are teens overexposed to technology? 8 to 18 year olds are spending 7.5 hrs/day using entertainment media. When we think about the consequences, we're seeing changes in sleep, academic performance, and possibly health outcomes. The average teen send 100 text messages/day. Given that teens have actively adopted mobile technology, how can we leverage technology to promote wellness?

How do you reach teens to address health habits? BodiMojo is using 4 major developmental and behavior theories. They're using a web portal, SMS reminders, and a variety of other mHealth resources to reach teens. They're also using wireless pedometers to motivate kids to stay active. By the end of a school day, kids have over 5,000 steps.

BodiMojo is working with teens to generate content around 8 main health topics. After all, kids generally don't have too many diseases. They're also leveraging tools, calculators, video, and community to engage teens on their web portal.

So, what have they learned?

Teens are competitive and you can engage them with social games. They also like personalized tools and gadgets like wireless pedometers. Tells will track health if devices/tools meet their needs such as cool factor, accessorizing, etc. Many teens are not using e-mail. Teens care about their health, but it's not a distinct entity. Like adults, kids expect things for free. However, parents are willing to pay a nominal fee for a health app for their teens.

Next steps include: mobile app, add social gaming elements, and approach vertical markets that focus on specific diseases and conditions.

I want to thank Epocrates for sponsoring these blog posts from the 2nd International mHealth Networking Conference. Epocrates, Inc. develops clinical information and decision support tools that enable healthcare professionals to find answers more quickly and confidently at the point of care.

1 comment:

  1. More and more, BodiMojo is finding that kids really do care about their health, and if you add the technological bells and whistles of mobility, social games, and networking, it's a prescription for success in making health fun for teens.