Students Win First Place at Conference with Presentation on Health and Fitness Apps

ECA Conference

ECA Conference 2.jpgHIGH POINT, N.C., May 1, 2014 – A team of HPU communication students recently won first place for their original research presentation on the use of health and fitness smartphone apps at the April meeting of the Eastern Communication Conference.

Sarah Horton, Amanda King and Meg Stookey made their debut research presentation, “Behavioral Change and Smartphone Applications: A Study on How the Relationship Between the Two Can Help you be Healthier,” which focuses on the ability of health and fitness smartphone apps to initiate healthy lifestyle behaviors. The presentation is a product of a final research paper for Dr. Sojung Kim’s Research Methods course.

“Our graduate students are taking on research topics that are not only practical for scholarly use, but are also applicable in everyday life,” said Kim, assistant professor of strategic communication. “Mobile technology and society’s wavering healthy lifestyle are two significant topics in today’s world.”

The team’s research method involved participants recording changes in physical weight, fitness activity and confidence level through the completion of surveys. The study revealed that individuals who use a smartphone app to assist them in reaching a fitness goal experience weight loss, a boost in self-confidence and a better understanding of how to live a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Respondents attributed their success to the various features that apps offer to encourage individual accountability, motivation and long-term use.

According to King, the presentation was an opportunity to widen her perspective as a student and professional in the changing world of communication, and to network with students, professors and professionals from other institutions.

“As first semester graduate students, surveying real people, applying actual theories, and analyzing original results was a bit intimidating,” says King. “However, completing the project with a strong understanding of the theories and methods served as great preparation for my new classes in my second semester, and for a future career in communication.”

Horton attributes the unique opportunity to Kim, who encouraged the team to apply for the ECA conference.

“We’re very appreciative of Dr. Kim’s leadership and encouragement,” says Horton. “We are excited to represent HPU and experience participating in a conference so early on in our graduate studies.”

The team has also presented their research at the recent Graduate Student Research and Creative Works Symposium.

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