Exploring the use of mobile and wearable technology among university student athletes in Lebanon: a cross-sectional study

Marco Bardus, Cecile Borgi, Marwa El-Harakeh, Tarek Gherbal, Samer Kharroubi, Elie-Jacques Fares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The markets of commercial wearables and health and fitness apps are constantly growing globally, especially among young adults and athletes, to track physical activity, energy expenditure and health. Despite their wide availability, evidence on use comes predominantly from the United States or Global North, with none targeting college student-athletes in low- and middle-income countries. This study was aimed to explore the use of these technologies among student-athletes at the American University of Beirut (AUB). We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 482 participants (average age 20 years) enrolled in 24 teams during Fall 2018; 230 students successfully completed the web-based survey, and 200 provided valid data. Fifty-three (26.5%) have owned a fitness tracker, mostly for self-monitoring. The most popular were Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Garmin. Similarly, 82 students (40%) used apps, primarily MyFitnessPal, Apple Health, and Samsung Health. Nevertheless, many participants discontinued use due to loss of interest or technical issues (breaking, usability, obsolescence, or lack of engagement). Wearable devices were considered superior to mobile phones alone as physical activity monitors. However, forming regular habits made self-monitoring via technology irrelevant. Further research is needed to better understand what motivates continuous use among student-athletes, who could use trackers to improve athletic performance and overall health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4472
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Volume21
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Lebanon
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Wearable Electronic Devices
  • Young Adult

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