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Interventions and public health nutrition

Promoting healthy lifestyle in Chinese college students: evaluation of a social media-based intervention applying the RE-AIM framework

Abstract

Background

A health program aiming at college students is pressingly needed to improve their lifestyle and prevent diseases. However, a health intervention often requires health facilities and the many efforts of health workers. This project attempts to evolve traditional health intervention by using integrated methods based on social media and multiple mobile tools.

Methods

A total of 110 undergraduates from Zhejiang University were recruited. In all, 87 participants volunteered to enroll in the intervention group, whereas 23 stayed in a control group. Fifteen staff (dietitians, health assistants and a sports coach) used the WeChat app and its plugin Zhishi mini-program for health education, diet and physical activity (PA) supervision during 21 days. Pre-to-post changes of eating habits, physical fitness tests and anthropometry data were measured. The RE-AIM framework was employed to evaluate the intervention, dimensions of which were Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance.

Results

The recruitment rate of students was 79.1%. The intervention group showed significant progress in terms of healthy food intake (all P < 0.05), and an improvement in PA level (P = 0.004) over 21 days. About 60.9% subjects were satisfied with the whole program and 64.4% would like to join the program again.

Conclusions

This intervention showed a great improvement in healthy behavior with great feasibility for further dissemination.

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Acknowledgements

Tons of thanks to Ying Chen, Ao Li, Yixin Jiang, Kaixin Pan, Yutao Ni, Yulian Yang, Jingyi Jin, Shannan Tong, Lina Ma. As staff members, their hard work in this intervention project would always be appreciated.

Funding

There was no financial support for this project.

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Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

MY conceived the idea. MW created the first manuscript. YG was the main contributor in manuscript writing. YZ executed the project. SX and ZY worked as dietitians. XL, JL, and DZ contributed to statistical analysis. ZM developed the social media AI based food tracking and analysis app and collected the participants’ dietary and nutrition intake data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Min Yang.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Wang, M., Guo, Y., Zhang, Y. et al. Promoting healthy lifestyle in Chinese college students: evaluation of a social media-based intervention applying the RE-AIM framework. Eur J Clin Nutr 75, 335–344 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-0643-2

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