${vImageAlt}

New study engages citizen scientists in physical activity to influence policy

Dr. Tarun Katapally, a population health researcher and assistant professor at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and co-investigators from across the country are launching a new SMART study to explore active living patterns among Saskatchewan residents.

${vImageAlt}
Tarun Katapally

Dr. Tarun Katapally, a population health researcher and assistant professor at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and co-investigators from across the country are launching a new SMART study to explore active living patterns among Saskatchewan residents. With $118,500 in funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and in-kind contributions of $360,000 from the YMCAs in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, the study engages residents as “citizen scientists” by asking them to use their smartphones to collect their own data on physical activity and movement patterns during all four seasons in the three aforementioned communities. The end goal is to provide the residents with a tool that allows them to share their perspectives on active living behaviours – both barriers and catalysts – to influence policy in their communities.

“Active living isn’t just exercise, it could be incorporated into every aspect of life – walking/biking to work or to a grocery store, standing at your desk at work, going to a park with your family, among other daily activities,” Katapally says. “We’re hoping the results of the study will allow policy-makers to develop evidence-based active living policies and programs specific to their jurisdictions.”

To collect this context-rich data, Katapally’s team has developed a smartphone app that uses built-in features like GPS, accelerometer, camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and gyroscope. By using the app to crowdsource data collection, the study could effectively change the way population health researchers collect data.

“Our Establishment Grants allow researchers, such as Dr. Katapally, to launch their careers in Saskatchewan and successfully attain additional funding from other sources to advance their work,” says Patrick Odnokon, Interim CEO of SHRF. “Dr. Katapally’s work is just one example of how we are working together to build and broaden Saskatchewan’s capacity for innovative health research that has an impact on the health of our residents.”

Study participants are being actively recruited from April 15 – May 31, and participation is open to residents in all three cities. Those that sign up will receive a free one-week pass to the YMCA.

For detailed information and/or to sign-up for the study, visit www.smartstudysask.com or email: smart.study@usask.ca / smart.study@uregina.ca.


-30-

For more information, contact:
Erica Schindel, Communications and Marketing Specialist
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School, University of Saskatchewan campus
306-966-2663 / erica.schindel@usask.ca

Costa Maragos, Media Relations
External Relations, University of Regina
306-585-5439 / costa.maragos@uregina.ca

Richard Kies, Director of Communications and Outreach,
Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation
306-975-1687 / rkies@shrf.ca

Share this story