Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2013, Article ID 324259, 4 pages
Research Article

Urban, Suburban, and Rural: Adolescents’ Use and Preferences for Fitness Promotion Technologies across Communities

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 600 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53792, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, USA

Received 5 March 2013; Accepted 23 March 2013

Academic Editors: Z. Shi and M. C. Wang

Copyright © 2013 Erika Mikulec et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. An understanding of adolescents’ use of technology across ages and communities could allow for future targeted obesity intervention strategies. Methods. Focus groups of adolescents from rural, suburban, and urban cities in three states were conducted. Focus groups were led by a trained facilitator to explore how participants used technologies and whether they applied them for fitness purposes. All focus groups were audio recorded and manually transcribed. Analysis was conducted by three investigators using an iterative process. Results. Five focus groups included adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years (20 females and 8 males.) Three themes were derived from our data. First, we found age differences regarding technology applied to fitness. Younger participants described technology as a complement to fitness; older participants viewed technology as a motivator for fitness. Second, differences in fitness approaches existed between rural and urban adolescents. Adolescents in rural communities reported focusing on the outdoors for fitness, while urban adolescents relied on fitness-oriented video games. Both rural and urban teens related having a lack of fitness-focused resources in their communities. Conclusions. Our findings indicate differences in adolescents’ application of technology for fitness. Despite adolescents’ differing uses of technology across communities, a common need exists to expand their resources.