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

1 Citation (Scopus)

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
Number of pages17
JournalSensors
Volume21
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This project was supported by the University Sports department at the Charles W. Hostler Student Center and the Office of Student Affairs, and by the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, at the American University of Beirut. We would like to thank Talal Nizameddin, for his encouragements, moral support, facilitating communications with student-athletes, and approving the financial contribution to support the publication of this study. We also thank the Office of Students Affairs and the University for providing financial support for this publication. Additionally, we thank Fidele Al Masri for assisting in drafting some parts of the initial manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authorsLicensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Athletes
  • Exercise
  • Fitness trackers
  • Students
  • Wearable electronic devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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