Brief Summary:

The FAITH! App is a culturally tailored mobile health (mHealth) intervention that was co-created with our community partners. We collaborated with 16 African-American churches in Rochester and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area to develop an app that promotes heart health and behavior changes in a way that engages the African-American faith community. After a series of focus groups, we refined the app to include several features:

      • Personalized messaging based on user’s goals
      • Physical activity tracking (Fitbit synched to app to track user’s daily step count)
      • Daily fruit and vegetable intake tracking
      • Heart-Health Recipes based on traditional African-American cuisine
      • Fitness instruction videos
      • Video testimonials from previous program participants
      • Interactive sharing board for social connection and support
      • 10-week curriculum featuring videos from Mayo Clinic experts discussing elements of heart health

The FAITH! App clinical trial included 85 participants who went through a 10-week period of guided app use. Every day they tracked their diet and activity, and each week they completed one of the 10 education units. Knowledge checks allowed them to test their understanding of the weekly topic before and after watching the educational video. After the 10-weeks, participants were left to use the app however they wanted for a 6-month maintenance phase.

Health assessments at the beginning and end of the study measured the seven health factors and behaviors used to predict heart health; the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, or LS7. These metrics include body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, smoking status, diet, and physical activity. These measurements result in a composite LS7 score which indicates “poor,” “intermediate,” or “ideal” heart health. We compared participants’ LS7 scores before using the app and after the 6-month maintenance phase and found a significant improvement in heart health!

Dr. Brewer was recently part of the American Heart Association Presidential Advisory Group which updated the LS7 to Life’s Essential 8, or LE8, by adding a sleep health component. We hope to update the FAITH! App to include health information for sleep and complete another study with even more participants. We are also working to find stakeholders who will help us make the FAITH! app more easily accessible as it is currently in a prototype state