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Mobile Health Intervention Promoting Physical Activity in Adults Post Cardiac Rehabilitation: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

  • Author(s): Park, Linda G;
  • Elnaggar, Abdelaziz;
  • Lee, Sei J;
  • Merek, Stephanie;
  • Hoffmann, Thomas J;
  • Von Oppenfeld, Julia;
  • Ignacio, Nerissa;
  • Whooley, Mary A
  • et al.

Published Web Location


Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an exercise-based program prescribed after cardiac events associated with improved physical, mental, and social functioning; however, many patients return to a sedentary lifestyle leading to deteriorating functional capacity after discharge from CR. Physical activity (PA) is critical to avoid recurrence of cardiac events and mortality and maintain functional capacity. Leveraging mobile health (mHealth) strategies to increase adherence to PA is a promising approach. Based on the social cognitive theory, we sought to determine whether mHealth strategies (Movn mobile app for self-monitoring, supportive push-through messages, and wearable activity tracker) would improve PA and functional capacity over 2 months.


The objectives of this pilot randomized controlled trial were to examine preliminary effects of an mHealth intervention on group differences in PA and functional capacity and group differences in depression and self-efficacy to maintain exercise after CR.


During the final week of outpatient CR, patients were randomized 1:1 to the intervention group or usual care. The intervention group downloaded the Movn mobile app, received supportive push-through messages on motivation and educational messages related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) management 3 times per week, and wore a Charge 2 (Fitbit Inc) activity tracker to track step counts. Participants in the usual care group wore a pedometer and recorded their daily steps in a diary. Data from the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and self-reported questionnaires were collected at baseline and 2 months.


We recruited 60 patients from 2 CR sites at a community hospital in Northern California. The mean age was 68.0 (SD 9.3) years, and 23% (14/60) were female; retention rate was 85% (51/60). Our results from 51 patients who completed follow-up showed the intervention group had a statistically significant higher mean daily step count compared with the control (8860 vs 6633; P=.02). There was no difference between groups for the 6MWT, depression, or self-efficacy to maintain exercise.


This intervention addresses a major public health initiative to examine the potential for mobile health strategies to promote PA in patients with CVD. Our technology-based pilot mHealth intervention provides promising results on a pragmatic and contemporary approach to promote PA by increasing daily step counts after completing CR.

Trial registration NCT03446313;

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