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Abstract

In our fast paced world, using technology allows us to connect with people and assist them in developing healthier lifestyles within their time limits due to families, work, and other responsibilities. The goal of our project was the development of online, technology-based, nutrition, health, and fitness education challenges using social media as a means of helping consumers develop healthy lifestyle changes. Participants completed preassessments and postassessments to determine overall program impact and to self-report perceptions of knowledge gained and practice/behavior change. Results from the challenges indicated participants gained knowledge on nutrition, health and fitness topics while making strides towards lifestyle changes and adoption of healthy habits. Results revealed healthier eating habits were developed and physical activity was increased with many participants losing weight. Ease of participating was the most reported reason for participating in the challenges. To determine “best practice,” varying lengths of time for the challenges from four, seven, and thirteen weeks allowed the educators to derive implications for future programming, including branding, length of the challenge, frequency, and participant behavior change. To remain relevant and reach a greater diversity of populations, educators need to continue to explore and utilize various social media tools.

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