Smartphone apps might enable interventions to increase physical activity, but few randomised trials testing this hypothesis have been done. The MyHeart Counts Cardiovascular Health Study is a longitudinal smartphone-based study with the aim of elucidating the determinants of cardiovascular health. We aimed to investigate the effect of four different physical activity coaching interventions on daily step count in a substudy of the MyHeart Counts Study.In this randomised, controlled crossover trial, we recruited adults (aged =18 years) in the USA with access to an iPhone smartphone (Apple, Cupertino, CA, USA; version 5S or newer) who had downloaded the MyHeart Counts app (version 2.0). After completion of a 1 week baseline period of interaction with the MyHeart Counts app, participants were randomly assigned to receive one of 24 permutations (four combinations of four 7 day interventions) in a crossover design using a random number generator built into the app. Interventions consisted of either daily prompts to complete 10?000 steps, hourly prompts to stand following 1 h of sitting, instructions to read the guidelines from the American Heart Association website, or e-coaching based upon the individual's personal activity patterns from the baseline week of data collection. Participants completed the trial in a free-living setting. Due to the nature of the interventions, participants could not be masked from the intervention. Investigators were not masked to intervention allocation. The primary outcome was change in mean daily step count from baseline for each of the four interventions, assessed in the modified intention-to-treat analysis set, which included all participants who had completed 7 days of baseline monitoring and at least 1 day of one of the four interventions. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03090321.Between Dec 12, 2016, and June 6, 2018, 2783 participants consented to enrol in the coaching study, of whom 1075 completed 7 days of baseline monitoring and at least 1 day of one of the four interventions and thus were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis set. 493 individuals completed the full set of assigned interventions. All four interventions significantly increased mean daily step count from baseline (mean daily step count 2914 [SE 74]): mean step count increased by 319 steps (75) for participants in the American Heart Association website prompt group (p<0·0001), 267 steps (74) for participants in the hourly stand prompt group (p=0·0003), 254 steps (74) for participants in the cluster-specific prompts group (p=0·0006), and by 226 steps (75) for participants in the 10?000 daily step prompt group (p=0·0026 vs baseline).Four smartphone-based physical activity coaching interventions significantly increased daily physical activity. These findings suggests that digital interventions delivered via a mobile app have the ability to increase short-term physical activity levels in a free-living cohort.Stanford Data Science Initiative.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S2589-7500(19)30129-3
View details for PubMedID 33323209