Helping Me Helping You: Designing to Influence Health Behaviour through Social Connections

  • Noreen Kamal
  • Sidney Fels
  • Joanna McGrenere
  • Kara Nance
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8119)


Of key importance to avoiding significant health problems such as cardiac disease and stroke is eating nutritious foods and leading an active lifestyle. However, leading a healthy lifestyle remains elusive and obesity continues to increase in North America. We investigate how online social networks (OSN) can change health behaviour by blending theories from health behaviour and participation in OSNs. We designed, prototyped and evaluated an OSN, called VivoSpace, using factors derived from the blend of theoretical models with the intention to change health behaviour. Our results from field studies with 35 participants from two clinical and one non-clinical social network groups revealed that designing these factors into the online social network lead to positive health behaviour change, namely, improved diet for the clinical group. The use of theoretical models in the evaluation provided a means to understand how the design can be improved to see further health behaviour change.


Health behaviour change social networks diet physical activity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Kamal
    • 1
  • Sidney Fels
    • 1
  • Joanna McGrenere
    • 2
  • Kara Nance
    • 3
  1. 1.Electrical & Computer EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.How To Be Healthy MDRolling MeadowsUSA

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