What role do health-related offers play in the app repertoire of young people? And how are the offers with regard to their health-promoting potential, their possible risks and their quality to be evaluated?
Nutrition apps, activity tracker, apps for preventing cancer, diabetes apps - there seems to be at least one application for all conceivable health and disease topics. However, serious offers are often difficult to find or recognise as such. Thus, the health-promoting potential of health apps has not yet been sufficiently exploited. Apps seem attractive especially for adolescents who are, on the one hand, very attached to their smartphone and, on the other hand, deal with various health-related questions in the context of their psychosocial development. According to a US study, 21 per cent of young people aged 13 to 18 years have already downloaded a health app before (cf. Wartella et al. 2015).
The project HealthApp4Teens examined the current offer of health-related apps aimed at young people. On the one hand, structural and content-related criteria (e.g. topic, kind of health reference, health-related intention, functional elements etc.) and, on the other hand, quality-related criteria that are discussed in connection with health apps were taken into account. This analysis was complemented by an online survey, which intended to shed light on the significance of health-related offers in the app repertoire of young people.
On the basis of the findings, the health-promoting potentials and limitations of apps were discussed with regard to the target group of young people.
The project was a co-operation between the Hans-Bredow-Institut (Dr. Claudia Lampert) and the APOLLON University in Bremen (Prof. Dr. Viviane Scherenberg), and was funded by the Techniker Krankenkasse.
Lampert, C.; Scherenberg, V. (2019): Gesundheits-Apps für Kinder und Jugendliche [Health Apps for Children and Young People]. In: Public Health Forum 27(4), pp. 301-303 (link).
Research programme: RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society