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April 2015
Technology & Fitness A collaborative approach between health scientists, designers and social media experts has produced a health app that actually works to get normal people to be more active.   The multidisciplinary research group from the University of South Australia designed the trial Facebook app to harnesses the power of friendship to increase physical activity.   Named ‘Active Team’, the pilot app allows users to invite Facebook friends to join them in a physical activity challenge, using a pedometer to track and increase their exercise.   An eight-week pilot study in South Australia found that compared to groups of friends not using Active Team, average weekly physical activity increased by over two hours per person in the groups with app access.   Project leader Dr Carol Maher admits even the research group was surprised about the results.   “Seeing a two hour increase in average physical activity levels associated with Active Team usage was quite exciting for us,” she said.   “Often more conventional new health interventions will only lead to physical activity improvements of the order of 20 minutes or so.”   The results from the Active Team pilot trial are being prepared for publication this year (continue reading)