Potential adoption of mHealth applications to induce healthy lifestyles among UKZN (PMB) students.
Mtshali, Nompumelelo Cebisile Witness.
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Over the years, the World Health Organization has reported an increasing number of young people affected by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). There is also evidence that there is an increased prevalence of NCDs amongst the youth in South Africa. This surge in NCDs amongst the youth is often related to unhealthy lifestyles. It is also known that the rate of smartphone adoption among the youth in South Africa is high. This high rate of smartphone adoption presents an opportunity to devise mobile applications-driven interventions to induce healthy lifestyles amongst the youth. It is in this context that this study examined the potential adoption of mobile health applications to promote healthy lifestyles, that is, to monitor one’s diet and physical exercise amongst the youth in South Africa. The study adopted the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) to explain the youth’s intention to adopt mobile health applications that help induce healthy lifestyles. Data was collected from a convenient sample of 320 students registered at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus using a survey questionnaire. The descriptive analysis was conducted to assess and understand the perceptions and awareness of students pertaining to the use of mobile health applications. The Partial Least Structured Equation Model was used to assess the proposed model for the adoption of mobile health applications that promote healthy lifestyles. The results revealed that effort expectancy (EE), performance expectancy (PE) and social influence (SI), and facilitating conditions are the factors that influence the adoption of mobile health applications that help to induce healthy lifestyles. In addition, the study found that there is limited awareness of mobile health applications among UKZN (PMB) students. The study recommended that there is a need for interventions to raise awareness on the use of mHealth applications that help induce healthy lifestyles amongst the youth. Furthermore, any interventions that seek to promote healthy lifestyles amongst the youth should consider the identified factors that significantly influence the adoption of mHealth applications that help induce healthy lifestyles.