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The effect of smartphone application interventions on physical activity level among university/college students: A systematic review protocol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Therapy Reviews
Early online date28 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2020


Introduction: Strong evidence has shown the benefits of engagement in recommended amount of physical activity. However, it is estimated that nearly half of university students do not participate in sufficient amount of physical activity. While entering university life is a transitional stage important for adopting a particular lifestyle, it is crucial to develop and implement novel strategies to promote physical activity among this population. A smartphone application is a potential media for delivering physical activity intervention. However, recent reviews in this area have demonstrated high levels of heterogeneity, potentially due to population diversity. To date there has been no attempt to synthesize the literature assessing the effectiveness of this particular intervention in university students.

Aim: The primary aim of this review is to investigate the effectiveness of smartphone application intervention on physical activity level among university students. The secondary aim is examining the behavior change technique elements of smartphone applications used in available studies.

Methods: Sixteen electronic databases will be searched for randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies reporting the effect of smartphone application intervention on physical activity outcomes among university students. Two reviewers will independently screen the potential studies and extract data from included studies. Active elements of smartphone applications used in included studies will be coded using the Behavior Change Technique taxonomy v1. Risk of bias and quality of evidence of individual studies will be assessed. The overall evidence will be presented in a narrative synthesis and quantitative synthesis.

    Research areas

  • exercise, m-health, physical activity, smartphone applications, university students

ID: 147941184