The impact of a web-based mindfulness, nutrition, and physical activity platform on the health status of first-year university students: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Claire F. Trottier, Jessica R.L. Lieffers, Steven T. Johnson, João F. Mota, Roshni K. Gill, Carla M. Prado

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: First-year university students are at an increased risk for developing mental health issues and a poor nutritional status. Self-care plays an essential role in optimizing mental health and can prevent or manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Web-based self-monitoring of diet and physical activity can lead to similar or improved health outcomes compared with conventional methods. Such tools are also popular among university students. Objective: The primary aim of this 12-week randomized controlled trial is to assess the impact of a web-based wellness platform on perceived stress among first-year university students. The secondary aim is to assess the effects of the platform on diet quality. The exploratory objectives are to explore the effects of the platform on body composition, health-related quality of life, mindfulness, mental well-being, and physical activity. Methods: A total of 97 first-year undergraduate students were randomized to either the intervention (n=48) or control (n=49) group. The intervention consisted of access to a web-based platform called My Viva Plan (MVP), which aims to support healthy living by focusing on the topics of mindfulness, nutrition, and physical activity. The platform is fully automated and guided by the principles of cognitive behavioral theory. Participants in the intervention group were instructed to use the MVP as frequently as possible over 12 weeks. The control group did not receive access to MVP. Perceived stress was assessed using the Stress Indicators Questionnaire at baseline, week 6, and week 12. Three-day food records were used to analyze the dietary intake at baseline and week 12. Health-related quality of life, mindfulness, mental well-being, and physical activity questionnaires were completed at baseline, week 6, and week 12. Body composition was assessed at baseline and week 12. Study assessments were completed in person at baseline and week 12 and electronically at week 6. Results: Study recruitment started in August 2018, with batch enrollment for students registered in the fall (September 2018 to December 2018) and winter (January 2019 to April 2019) academic terms at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Conclusions: This study is the first to explore the impact of a web-based platform designed to promote health and wellness on perceived stress and diet quality among first-year university students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere24534
    JournalJMIR Research Protocols
    Volume10
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2021

    Keywords

    • Dietary intake
    • Internet-based intervention
    • Mindfulness
    • Physical activity
    • Quality of life
    • Randomized controlled trial
    • Wellness programs

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