2020-05-20Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.2196/14396
Health App Use and Its Correlates Among Individuals With and Without Type 2 Diabetes: Nationwide Population-Based Survey
Stühmann, Lena M.
Background: Evidence suggests that mobile health app use is beneficial for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its associated complications; however, population-based research on specific determinants of health app use in people with and without T2D is scarce. Objective: This cross-sectional study aimed to provide population-based evidence on rates and determinants of health app use among adults with and without T2D, thereby covering a prevention perspective and a diabetes management perspective, respectively. Methods: The study population included 2327 adults without a known diabetes diagnosis and 1149 adults with known T2D from a nationwide telephone survey in Germany conducted in 2017. Rates of smartphone ownership and health app use were estimated based on weighted sample proportions. Among smartphone owners, determinants of health app use were identified for both groups separately in multivariable logistic regression models. Sociodemographic factors, diabetes-related factors or indicators, psychological and health-related factors, and physician-provided information were selected as potential determinants. Results: Among participants without known diabetes, 74.72% (1690/2327) were smartphone owners. Of those, 49.27% (717/1690) used health apps, most often to improve regular physical activity. Among participants with T2D, 42.26% (481/1149) were smartphone owners. Of those, 41.1% (171/481) used health apps, most commonly to target a healthy diet. Among people without known diabetes, determinants significantly (all P values <.05) associated with an increased likelihood of health app use compared with their reference group were as follows: younger and middle age of 18 to 44 or 45 to 64 years (odds ratios [ORs] 3.89; P<.001 and 1.76; P=.004, respectively), overweight or obesity (ORs 1.58; P<.001 and 2.07; P<.001, respectively), hypertension diagnosis (OR 1.31; P=.045), former or current smoking (ORs 1.51; P=.002 and 1.58; P<.001, respectively), perceiving health as very good (OR 2.21; P<.001), other chronic diseases (OR 1.48; P=.002), and having received health advice from a physician (OR 1.48; P<.001). A slight or high perceived diabetes risk (ORs 0.78; P=.04 and 0.23; P<.001, respectively) was significantly associated with a decreased likelihood of health app use. Among people with T2D, younger and middle age (18-64 years; OR 1.84; P=.007), female gender (OR 1.61; P=.02), and using a glucose sensor in addition or instead of a glucose meter (OR 2.74; P=.04) were significantly positively associated with health app use. Conclusions: In terms of T2D prevention, age, diabetes-related risk factors, psychological and health-related factors, and medical health advice may inform app development for specific target groups. In addition, health professionals may encourage health app use when giving advice on health behaviors. Concerning T2D management, only a few determinants seem relevant for explaining health app use among people with T2D, indicating a need for more future research on which people with T2D use health apps and why.
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