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A Contactless App-Based Intervention to Improve Health Behaviors in Airline Pilots: A Randomized Trial

Published:January 12, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2022.12.011

      Introduction

      There is a need for enhanced preventive health care among airline pilots to mitigate the prevalence of cardiometabolic health risk factors.

      Design

      A randomized, waitlist-controlled trial was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone-based app intervention for improving health behaviors and cardiometabolic health parameters.

      Setting/participants

      A total of 186 airline pilots (aged 43.2±9.1 years; male, 64%) were recruited and participated in the trial during 2022.

      Intervention

      This intervention was a personalized, 16-week smartphone-based app multicomponent physical activity, healthy eating, and sleep hygiene intervention.

      Main outcome measures

      Outcome measures of objective health (Cooper's 12-minute exercise test, resting heart rate, push ups, plank isometric hold, body mass), subjective health (self-rated health, perceived psychological stress and fatigue), and health behaviors (weekly physical activity, sleep quality and duration, fruit and vegetable intake) were collected at baseline and after intervention. The waitlist control completed the same measures.

      Results

      Significant interactions for time Χ group from baseline to 16 weeks were found for all outcome measures (p<0.001). Significant between-group differences for positive health changes in favor of the intervention group were found after intervention for all outcome measures (p<0.05, d=0.4–1.0) except for self-rated health, body mass, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score.

      Conclusions

      Study findings show that an app-based health behavior intervention can elicit positive cardiometabolic health changes among airline pilots over 16 weeks, associated with trivial to large effect sizes.

      Trial registration

      The trial protocol was prospectively registered at The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12622000288729).
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