Reference : Digital Inequalities in the Use of Self-Tracking Diet and Fitness Apps: Interview Stu...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Computational Sciences
Digital Inequalities in the Use of Self-Tracking Diet and Fitness Apps: Interview Study on the Influence of Social, Economic, and Cultural Factors
Régnier, Faustine mailto [> >]
Chauvel, Louis mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
JMIR mHealth and uHealth
JMIR Publications
[en] digital divide ; social networking ; diet
[en] Background: Digital devices are driving economic and social transformations, but assessing the uses, perceptions, and impact
of these new technologies on diet and physical activity remains a major societal challenge.
Objective: We aimed to determine under which social, economic, and cultural conditions individuals in France were more likely
to be actively invested in the use of self-tracking diet and fitness apps for better health behaviors.
Methods: Existing users of 3 diet and fitness self-tracking apps (Weight Watchers, MyFitnessPal, and sport apps) were recruited
from 3 regions of France. We interviewed 79 individuals (Weight Watchers, n=37; MyFitnessPal, n=20; sport apps, n=22).
In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with each participant, using open-ended questions about their use of diet and
fitness apps. A triangulation of methods (content, textual, and quantitative analyses) was performed.
Results: We found 3 clusters of interviewees who differed by social background and curative goal linked to use under constraint
versus preventive goal linked to chosen use, and intensity of their self-quantification efforts and participation in social networks.
Interviewees used the apps for a diversity of uses, including measurement, tracking, quantification, and participation in digital
communities. A digital divide was highlighted, comprising a major social gap. Social conditions for appropriation of self-tracking
devices included sociodemographic factors, life course stages, and cross-cutting factors of heterogeneity.
Conclusions: Individuals from affluent or intermediate social milieus were most likely to use the apps and to participate in the
associated online social networks. These interviewees also demonstrated a preventive approach to a healthy lifestyle. Individuals
from lower milieus were more reluctant to use digital devices relating to diet and physical activity or to participate in
self-quantification. The results of the study have major implications for public health: the digital self-quantification device is
intrinsically less important than the way the individual uses it, in terms of adoption of successful health behaviors.
Métaprogramme DID’IT “Déterminants et Impact de la Diète, Interactions et Transitions”
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique’s (INRA)
“Diet 3.0–Impacts of Digital Devices for a Better Diet” (288/MP-P10461)
Researchers ; Professionals

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