Can an evidence-based book club intervention delivered via a tablet computer improve physical activity in middle-aged women?

Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer L. Huberty, Gert Jan De Vreede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Fewer than 50% of middle-aged women participate in regular physical activity (PA). Innovative approaches that engage women who may not otherwise participate in PA programs are warranted. The purpose of this study was to explore the acceptability and feasibility of a 12-week tablet-based book club for improving middle-aged women's PA. Materials and Methods: Thirty women (35-64 years of age) were randomized to the Fit Minded Tablet (n=15) and the Standard Fit Minded (i.e., face-to-face intervention) (n=15) groups. The Fit Minded Tablet was adapted from the Standard Fit Minded, a previously tested, theory-based book club intervention using books as a platform for discussion and group support to help women adopt regular PA. Both interventions met weekly for 3 months, for a total of 12 sessions. Tablet group participants accessed materials (e.g., e-books, workbook, live/recorded videoconferencing) via a tablet computer; Standard group participants received materials (e.g., printed books, workbook, live face-to-face meetings) in person. Feasibility (i.e., implementation and expansion) was assessed using process evaluation, qualitative interviews, satisfaction surveys, and quantitative outcome assessments. Results: Women in the Tablet group attended fewer meetings (mean, 8.25) than women in the Standard group (mean, 9.9). Videoconferencing, digital literacy, and participant engagement limitations were observed in the Tablet group. Tablet participants enjoyed the e-books but thought technology barriers hindered their engagement during meetings. Women in both groups valued the support they received from other group members. Standard participants cited this support as a key contributor to their PA changes, whereas Tablet participants reported needing in-person contact to feel more connected. Conclusions: Given the popularity of tablet computers and the value that middle-aged women place on group interaction to support their PA behaviors, additional research is warranted to determine best strategies for optimizing social support, mitigating technology barriers, and improving engagement in online and mobile health promotion programs targeting middle-aged women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral health
  • e-health
  • mobile health
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics


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