Despite the prevalence of university nutrition and physical activity programs, poor eating habits and sedentary behavior are persistent problems for many college students who are surrounded by numerous unhealthy food choices and physical activity barriers which make them vulnerable to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The Healthy Detours program emerges in response to current statistics on college health behavior and recent advances in mobile technology that allow for improved behavioral tracking and tailored interventions that can be administered in real-time and on-demand in a way that was not previously possible. The proposed project to produce an integrated Smartphone application and web program to guide college students to healthier eating and physical activity choices by providing them with as-you-need-it, location-based decision support technology will be led by researchers and multimedia developers at Klein Buendel, Inc. (KB) with the assistance of nutrition and physical activity consultants, university student health service professionals, students, and dining and physical activity establishment decision-makers. The proposed Phase I SBIR project will develop the content and look-and-feel design for the Smartphone application and companion web utility. Specifically, KB will: a) Gather input from an Expert Advisory Board and focus groups with students and managers of dining and physical activity venues to develop the content and functional features needed to program a prototypes;b) Collect survey responses from college student health services professionals to determine how to best design Healthy Detours and to integrate the program into college student health communities;c) Test the program prototype with student focus groups;and d) Develop a specifications document to outline the full Phase II development plan. The completed theoretically-based Phase II product will collect essential data on users'dietary and physical activity habits when they check in at various locations, such as restaurants, throughout the day. It will analyze the data and provide customized weekly scheduling recommendations. Healthy Detours will also offer on-demand feedback, such as healthier dining or fitness options at critical decision-making points and will provide routine reminders to encourage healthy behaviors. The proposed program is unique in that it integrates nutrition and physical activity to provide a comprehensive analysis of behavioral patterns. It also integrates multiple platforms to communicate with students, a tech- savvy population, on devices they most frequently use and intervenes at crucial decision making moments. Overall, the proposed project may significantly impact college students'health and quality of life by steering them to healthier choices. The Healthy Detours Smartphone app could be marketed to university student health services professionals or directly to students via the Android Marketplace or Apple's AppStore, or could be packaged as a companion product with KB's Live Fit on Campus comprehensive web program (evaluated in NCI-funded study CA106141;M. Buller, PI) currently being marketed to colleges and universities.
College students are in the unique position of navigating new-found independence while surrounded by many unhealthy food choices and barriers to physical activity, making this group vulnerable to a lifetime of detrimental behavior habits which can lead to chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. By creating an as you need it Smartphone application that is tailored to a student's schedule and locality, this project aims to guide students toward healthier eating and exercise choices in their area, to prevent the onset of damaging and costly health outcomes. This phase I effort will test the feasibility of developing a theoretically and evidence-based Smartphone application to direct students toward healthy nutritional and physical activity choices.