Efficacy of Health Education using Facebook to Promote Healthy Lifestyle among Medical Students in Puducherry, India: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial LC07-LC10
Dr. Stalin Prabakaran,
2, Bharathi Street, Shanthi Nagar, Lawspet, Puducherry-605014, India.
Introduction: Increasing burden of overweight and obesity among young adults is mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle especially with respect to diet and physical activity. At the same time, younger generations are spending more time with social network sites. Therefore, this study was intended to explore the role of social networking sites in promoting healthy lifestyle.
Aim: To measure the efficacy of health education using social networking sites in promoting healthy lifestyle among medical students in Puducherry, India.
Materials and Methods: A non-randomized controlled trial was conducted in a private medical college located in Puducherry. The study participants were overweight/obese individuals with (intervention arm) and without Facebook account (control arm). Following a baseline survey, both the groups received health education from dietician and physical trainer using Audiovisual (AV) aids. Intervention group received health education through Facebook in the forms of messages, pictures and videos for six weeks. Then, follow up survey was done to assess the change in dietary pattern, physical activity and body weight. Data of those who attended baseline, intervention and follow up surveys (23- control and 22- intervention) were analysed. Means and proportions were calculated. Paired t-test and Chi-square test were used to calculate the p-value. The p-value<0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: Mean number of days of junk food intake per week was reduced in both control and intervention groups from 2.91 days/week and 3.27 days/week at baseline to 2.65 days/week to two days/week at follow up respectively. A significant decrease in the Body Mass Index (BMI) (p<0.05) was found among the control group (baseline: 25.57, follow up: 25.15). No significant changes were found with respect to physical activity and intake of fruits and vegetables.
Conclusion: Except for the decrease in junk food intake, use of Facebook as an effective tool to promote healthy lifestyle could not be proved with confidence.