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Online a way out for the lazy?

Rocky’s Katie Keohane uses her mobile phone to help her keep moving. Is technology set to help people become more active?
Rocky’s Katie Keohane uses her mobile phone to help her keep moving. Is technology set to help people become more active? Sharyn O'Neill

ROCKHAMPTON'S Corneel Vandelanotte recognises the irony in his vision for inactive people to use computers and technology to get moving.

But while many people blame televisions and computers for obesity and chronic disease woes, Dr Vandelanotte sees technology as a big part of the solution.

The CQUniversity researcher, who heads its Centre for Physical Activity Studies, will outline the programs being undertaken at a free public lecture next week when he seeks to answer the question: Do internet-delivered physical activity interventions really work?

The self-confessed fitness junkie believes going online could be key to becoming more active. While he wasn't quite promoting the concept of downloading apps to get better abs, he does see a future where mobile phones and the internet become central tools for those who aren't active.

His drive is for dynamic websites offering individually tailored programs that support users.

"A lot of people might find it a bit of a paradox," Dr Vandelanotte said, referring to the use of computers to get more active.

"If you're sitting in front of a screen, how can you be more active? But the levels of internet use and physical activity are independent.

"People will use the internet anyway ... if we can put information on the internet that helps them to get more active it will help them to live more healthily."

In terms of internet-delivered physical activity interventions, CQUniversity is at the forefront in this field of study in Australia.

Dr Vandelanotte hopes that his and other research will help shape future policy, helping to create environments more conducive to activity as well as benefiting individuals.

"My research is not so much for those people who are already active and meeting recommended physical activity levels, instead it's for those who find it hard to do any physical activity. Our online interventions can help them," he said.

"People who are already very active will not see the point of our websites, and that is fine cause they don't need them anyway.

"But to prevent the risk of developing chronic diseases and save on health care costs, we need to make sure that inactive people become more active and keep it up for the long run.

"That's where online self-monitoring and tailoring can help make it easier for them."

He said programs like the Rockhampton-based 10,000 Steps were already making big inroads.

 

Log on to action

A free public talk in Rockhampton will address the idea of going online to become more active, asking "Do internet-delivered physical activity interventions really work?"

The presentation by CQUniversity's Dr Corneel Vandelanotte will be held from 6pm-7pm on Thursday, November 3 at the Criterion Hotel function room.

Details and RSVPs are via Dr Jim Douglas on j.douglas@cqu.edu.au or on 4923 2184.

Topics:  exercise health internet online technology


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