Design and baseline characteristics of participants in the Enhancing Physical Activity and Reducing Obesity through Smartcare and Financial Incentives (EPAROSFI): A pilot randomized controlled trial

Dong Wook Shin, Hee Kyung Joh, Jae Moon Yun, Hyuk Tae Kwon, Hyejin Lee, Hyeyeon Min, Jung Hyun Shin, Won Joo Chung, Jin Ho Park, Be Long Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: An activity tracker combined with a smartphone application (smartcare) may help people track and receive feedback on their own activities. However, activity trackers themselves generally fail to drive long-term sustained engagement for a majority of users. One potential strategy for increasing the effectiveness of smartcare is through the use of incentives. The purpose of this pilot randomized trial is to test the feasibility of our intervention and to assess the extent to which smartcare with or without financial incentives can increase physical activity levels and reduce weight over a 12-week period. Methods/design: This study employs a three-arm, open-label randomized controlled trial design: control (standard basic education), smartcare, and smartcare plus financial incentives. Male university students with body mass index ≥ 27 are enrolled. Our primary and secondary endpoints are the amount of weight loss and the level of physical activity respectively. The weight loss goal is 3% of baseline at week 4, 5% at week 8, and 7% at week 12. The daily physical activity goal was individualized according to the participants' weight. Process incentives are accumulated when participants met daily physical activity goals, and outcome incentives are provided when they met weight reduction goals. Discussion: Given the global increase in physical inactivity and obesity, there is a growing need for effective, scalable, and affordable health promotion strategies. Our proof-of-concept study will provide the evidence for the combination of rising health promotion technology of activity trackers and smartphone applications with the modern concept of behavioral economics using financial incentives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Activity tracker
  • Financial incentives
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Smartphone

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