Enhancing physical activity and reducing obesity through smartcare and financial incentives: A pilot randomized trial

Authors

  • Dong Wook Shin,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
    2. Center for Health Promotion & Optimal Aging, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Laboratory of Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
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  • Jae Moon Yun,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
    2. Center for Health Promotion & Optimal Aging, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Laboratory of Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
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  • Jung-Hyun Shin,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • Hyuktae Kwon,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
    2. Center for Health Promotion & Optimal Aging, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Laboratory of Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
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  • Hye Yeon Min,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • Hee-Kyung Joh,

    1. Seoul National University Health Service Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
    2. Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • Won Joo Chung,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
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  • Jin Ho Park,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
    2. Center for Health Promotion & Optimal Aging, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Laboratory of Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
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  • Kee-Taig Jung,

    1. Department of Health Services Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
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  • BeLong Cho

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital & College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
    2. Center for Health Promotion & Optimal Aging, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
    3. Laboratory of Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
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  • Funding agencies: This study is supported by the Korean Health Industry Development Institute of Korea Research Grant (1-2-1-002-12).

  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Author contribution: DWS, KTJ, HK, JHP, and BLC: study concept design; JMY, JHS, HYM, HKJ, and WJC: data collection and carried out the study; JMY and JHS: statistical analysis; DWS, JMY, JHS, HK, HYM, HKJ, JHP, and BLC: analysis and interpretation of the data and preparation of the manuscript; DWS, JMY, JHS, HK, HYM, HKJ, JHP, KTJ, and BLC: review of the manuscript.

  • Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT02548182.

Abstract

Objective

A pilot randomized trial assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of an intervention combining Smartcare (activity tracker with a smartphone application) and financial incentives.

Methods

A three-arm, open-label randomized controlled trial design involving traditional education, Smartcare, and Smartcare with financial incentives was involved in this study. The latter group received financial incentives depending on the achievement of daily physical activity goals (process incentive) and weight loss targets (outcome incentive). Male university students (N = 105) with body mass index of ≥27 were enrolled.

Results

The average weight loss in the traditional education, Smartcare, and Smartcare with financial incentives groups was −0.4, −1.1, and −3.1 kg, respectively, with significantly greater weight loss in the third group (both Ps < 0.01). The final weight loss goal was achieved by 0, 2, and 10 participants in the traditional education, Smartcare, and Smartcare with financial incentives groups (odds ratio for the Smartcare with financial incentive vs. Smartcare = 7.27, 95% confidence interval: 1.45–36.47). Levels of physical activity were significantly higher in this group.

Conclusions

The addition of financial incentives to Smartcare was effective in increasing physical activity and reducing obesity.

Ancillary