Behavior Change Techniques Used in Mobile Applications Targeting Physical Activity: A Systematic Review

Kuru H.

in: Current and Emerging mHealth Technologies , Emre Sezgin,Soner Yıldırım,Sevgi Özkan-Yildirim,Evren Sumuer, Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Munich, pp.23-35, 2018

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Munich
  • Page Numbers: pp.23-35
  • Editors: Emre Sezgin,Soner Yıldırım,Sevgi Özkan-Yildirim,Evren Sumuer, Editor
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The increasing capabilities of smartphones have motivated the appearance of mobile applications targeting physical activity in the app stores. Through a variety of specifications and functions, these mobile apps support behavior change. This systematic review reports the behavior change techniques (BCTs) and health behavior theories used in mobile applications targeting physical activity. In this review, taxonomy of 26 different behavior change techniques and 7 different health behavior theories was used as a framework. Of 350 potentially relevant articles, 8 satisfied the inclusion criteria for this study. The results showed that providing feedback on performance was the most frequently used BCT. Prompting specific goal setting was the second most common, and providing instruction was the third most commonly used BCT. These findings suggest that app developers make an effort to integrate health behavior theories to some extent.