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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

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Is a smartphone application effective in improving physical activity among medical school students? Results from a quasi-experimental study

Naveen Pentakota
  • Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Gomathi RamaswamyORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7637-0292 / Pruthu Thekkur / Divya Nair / Palanivel Chinnakali
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ganesh Kumar Saya
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2019-03-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0192



Physical activity (PA) is proven to be an effective strategy to avert the life threatening cardiovascular diseases. There is need for developing feasible aids to improve compliance to PA. Hence, we conducted a study among medical college students a) to assess the prevalence of recommended PA level and b) to assess the effectiveness of installing a smartphone application (app) in improving PA.


A quasi-experimental study was conducted among medical college students in Puducherry, India. The baseline PA was assessed using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) and anthropometric measurements such as height and weight were measured as per World Health Organization (WHO) standards. A smartphone app (Runtastic) was installed on the mobile phones of all study participants. At the end of 1 month, the end line PA and anthropometric measurements were captured using same scales.


Of the total 350 students who were included, the mean age of the participants was 18.9 (0.9) years and 58% of them were male. The proportion of participants with the WHO recommended level of PA increased from 81% at the baseline to 91% after 1 month of installation of the mobile app (p < 0.001). There was also a statistically significant increase in the leisure time PA [median (interquartile range – IQR) of metabolic equivalents (METS): 0 (0–1600) vs. 1260.0 (0–1920)]. Clinically significant change was not seen in body mass index (BMI) though the reduction was statistically significant [(mean (standard deviation – SD) of BMI: 22.54 (2.49) vs. after intervention 22.46 (2.47); p = 0.018].


This quasi-experimental study conducted among medical college students reported significant improvement in total and leisure time PA.

Keywords: exercise; GPAQ; mobile application; physical activity


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About the article

Received: 2018-08-21

Accepted: 2018-11-29

Published Online: 2019-03-28

Conflict of interest: None.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from the funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20180192, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0192.

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