The disproportionate burden of obesity among low-socioeconomic status (SES), Black, and Latinx households underscores the ever-increasing health disparities in the United States. This epidemic can be prevented by prioritizing physical activity interventions for these populations. However, many technology-based physical activity interventions were designed for the individuals rather than for the individuals amidst their social environment.
In this position paper, I report my eight-year research and technology designs processes. Although this research was not specifically guided by asset-based design principles, assets consistently emerged during the in-depth fieldwork. They include family relationships and caregiving communities. These assets appeared to influence the motivation to engage with health technologies and also enhance family physical activity self-efficacy. However, since my studies were not guided by asset-based design principles, some key assets may not be sufficiently identified. By participating in this workshop, I seek to collaboratively explore how to support communities to identify their assets and also how to translate assets into technology designs towards enhancing health equity.
Physical activity (PA) is crucial for reducing the risk of obesity, an epidemic that disproportionately burdens families of low-socioeconomic status (SES). While fitness tracking tools can increase PA awareness, more work is needed to examine (1) how such tools can help people benefit from their social environment, and (2) how reflections can help enhance PA attitudes. We investigated how fitness tracking tools for families can support social modeling and self-modeling (through reflection), two critical processes in Social Cognitive Theory. We developed StoryMap, a novel fitness tracking app for families aimed at supporting both modes of modeling. Then, we conducted a five-week qualitative study evaluating StoryMap with 16 low-SES families. Our findings contribute an understanding of how social and self-modeling can be implemented in fitness tracking tools and how both modes of modeling can enhance key PA attitudes: self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Finally, we propose design recommendations for social personal informatics tools.