BACKGROUND: This pilot study aimed to examine the effects of a lifestyle intervention comprising an activity monitor and the concurrent use of Twitter, on physical activity (PA) and body composition. METHODS: Seventeen healthy volunteers (36±3 years) were randomly assigned to normal (N, N.=8) or Twitter (T, N.=9) intervention groups for six weeks. Participants in both groups wore an activity monitor but those in the T group also tweeted daily about their PA. An observer read the tweets from each participant and provided feedback. Body composition was determined using bioelectrical impedance analysis before and after the intervention. RESULTS: Significantly more daily steps and PA at an intensity of ≥3 metabolic equivalents (METs) were recorded by the T than the N during six weeks. The number of steps and PA did not significantly change over time in the N, but significantly increased in the T from weeks one to six (8170±1130 to 12,934±1400 steps/day and 2.6±0.5 to 5.0±0.8 METsh/day). In addition, significantly more body fat was lost in the T, than in the N (-1.1±0.2 vs. -0.1±0.3 kg), and the changes in PA significantly correlated with the changes in body fat (r=-0.713). CONCLUSIONS: Lifestyle intervention can increase daily PA and reduce body fat more effectively when using an activity monitor and Twitter than an activity monitor alone.
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