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Stehr, Paula; Karnowski, Veronika and Rossmann, Constanze (2020): The multi-faceted usage patterns of nutrition apps: a survey on the appropriation of nutrition apps among German-speaking users of MyFitnessPal. In: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Vol. 20, No. 1, 279

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Background: Current systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials suggest positive influences of mobile app-based health promotion programs on dietary and physical activity behaviors. However, the actual adoption of and rates of nutrition app use remain low among the overall population. Therefore, we took a step back and investigated actual use patterns. In doing so, we took an appropriation perspective in order to reveal different styles of everyday life integration of these apps. Methods: We conducted an online survey with 761 German-speaking users of the MyFitnessPal app. Respondents were asked about their detailed use of nutrition apps according to an adapted version of the mobile phone appropriation model. Based on a cluster analysis, different user types were identified. These user types were compared and further described based on analyses of variance. In addition, we conducted a multinomial logistic regression to determine significant predictors of the varying usage patterns. Results: Four different user types were identified: (1) Supported, (2) Indifferent, (3) Health-conscious, and (4) Socializer. These user types mainly differed regarding three aspects: (1) their willingness to adjust default settings to one's own needs and abilities, (2) the role of social support and social norms, and (3) app use for socializing and competition. Conclusions: Our study sheds light on the multi-faceted appropriation patterns of nutrition apps in Germany, thus paving the way for future studies on mHealth appropriation patterns and the design of more refined mHealth-interventions.

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