Controlled clinical trial of how mobile health applications affect blue-collar men’s physical health as well as thoughts and actions in relation to their own physical health

Vinie Diana Hvidbak Levisen, Francisco Mansilla Castaño, Camilla Skovbjerg Jensen


Background: Blue collar men have both the lowest average life and longest patient delay, and currently no research has been conducted with mobile health applications as health promotion interventions for this target group. This study wants to contribute with knowledge about how mobile health applications affect the level of physical activity amongst blue collar men as well as the frequency of how often they think and do something for their own physical health.
Methods: Controlled clinical trial, men, aged 19–62 years, working in industrial companies, who are assigned to an intervention group (n=35) or a control group (n=35) are allocated based on mobile phone type/model. Baseline and effect measurement is carried out in both groups. Intervention period of 6 months in which the intervention group uses mobile applications that record the number of steps, and they receive a health-promoting text message every other week, and, every 4 weeks, the men send the recorded number of steps as well as visual analogue scale (VAS) thinking and doing in a selected week.
Results: During the intervention period, the following parameters have improved significantly in the intervention group: muscle mass, from 67.9 to 68.8 kg (P=0.02); oxygen absorption in the fitness test, from 3.09 to 3.22 L/min (P=0.03); VAS, how often the men do something to improve their own physical health, from 6.00 to 7.00 (P=0.0051). There are improved parameters in the intervention group for resting heart rate (RHR), fitness test, fat percentage and VAS thinking. For blood pressure (BP), there is a surprising increase in the intervention group: systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 134 to 136 mm/Hg (P=0.09) and diastolic 83 to 86 mm/Hg (P=0.03).
Conclusions: The use of mobile health applications, health promoting text messages and step-by-step control increases the physical activity level of blue-collar men as well as how often they think and do something to improve their physical health. Significant improvement is seen in their muscle mass and oxygen uptake as well as in relation to how often they do something to improve their own health.