App-based research encourages physical activity

A new study on physical activity and public policy is moving research work from the lab to your smartphone.

Led by Tarun Katapally, a population health researcher and assistant professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, this new smart study to explores active living patterns among Saskatchewan residents.

Katapally, in partnership with Nate Osgood's computational epidemiology lab in the Department of Computer Science, has devised an app with built-in features such as GPS, an accelerometer, a camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a gyroscope. The app collects data on physical activity and movements patterns on research participants in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw.

The goal is to provide residents with a tool that allows them to share their perspectives on active living behaviours—both barriers and catalysts—to influence policy in their communities.

“Active living isn’t just exercise. It could be incorporated into every aspect of life—walking/biking to work or to a grocery store, standing at your desk at work, going to a park with your family, among other daily activities,” said Katapally. “We’re hoping the results of the study will allow policy-makers to develop evidence-based active living policies and programs specific to their jurisdictions.”

Read more at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

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