The MyMovez Project
The MyMovez project investigates how health campaigns can best be implemented among youth. We focus on promoting a healthy life style among 9 to 16 year-olds. During this phase in life, important habits are being formed regarding eating and drinking, physical activity, and media use. To reveal the success and fail factors of health campaigns, we test several mobile health campaigns among 1.000 children and teens in a period of three years, and we will investigate the short and long term effects on their eating and drinking, physical activity and media behaviors.
At the core of the project is the power of youth’s social networks. Research shows that the social environment has great influence on a young person’s life style. Parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and class mates have substantial influence on what youth eat and drink, the sports they do, TV programs they watch, games they play, and websites they visit. Today’s communication technologies such as social media and smartphones offer unprecedented possibilities to use the power of social networks in health campaigns, but as yet there is not enough knowledge how to do so in an optimal way.
Who Are Behind MyMovez?
The project is conducted by the Radboud Universiteit Njmegen, by a team of seven researchers under supervision of Prof. dr. M. Buijzen. The research is financed and supervised by the European Research Council (ERC), the scientific department of the EU and the largest European scientific organization for scientific research. The project complies to the international ethical guidelines for research and has approval of the ERC’s Ethical Review Board and the Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University.
Why this Project?
The alarming rise of overweight in the past two decades and the associated health risks have put the prevention of overweight high on the public agenda. In the past years several health campaigns have been developed, but these often have a small or only a short-term effect. Health messages may be successful in stimulating children to live healthier on the short term, but have a lot more difficulty in changing life styles on the longer term. Therefore, there is a great need for scientific research to provide more insights how to increase the impact and of health campaigns on the long term.
For the MyMovez research project we develop a so-called Wearable Lab, an innovative research tool based on advanced mobile technologies. The Wearable Lab consists of a smartphone in combination with an activity-tracking bracelet (often called wearable). The smartphone includes an application (the MyMovez-app) that on the one hand collects health-related data from the participants, for example through daily quizzes, photos, location tracking and message board conversations. On the other hand, the app can spread health messages and campaigns. The activity-tracker measures the number of steps taken to get an impression of participant’s physical activity. We take great care in guarding participants’ privacy in this project. For example, the collected data will never be analyzed at an individual level, data will always be anonymized, and never be shared with commercial parties.