Opportunities to Improve a Mobile Obesity Wellness Intervention for Rural Older Adults with Obesity

  • John A. BatsisEmail author
  • Rachel Dokko
  • John A. Naslund
  • Alexandra B. Zagaria
  • David Kotz
  • Stephen J. Bartels
  • Elizabeth Carpenter-Song
Original Paper


Older adults with obesity are at a high risk of decline, particularly in rural areas. Our study objective was to gain insights into how a potential Mobile Health Obesity Wellness Intervention (MOWI) in rural older adults with obesity, consisting of nutrition and exercise sessions, could be helpful to improve physical function. A qualitative methods study was conducted in a rural community, community-based aging center. Four community leaders, 7 clinicians and 29 patient participants underwent focus groups and semi-structured interviews. All participants had a favorable view of MOWI and saw its potential to improve health and create accountability. Participants noted that MOWI could overcome geographic barriers and provided feedback about components that could improve implementation. There was expressed enthusiasm over its potential to improve health. The use of technology in older adults with obesity in rural areas has considerable promise. There is potential that this intervention could potentially extend to distant areas in rural America that can surmount accessibility barriers. If successful, this intervention could potentially alter healthcare delivery by enhancing health promotion in a remote, geographically constrained communities. MOWI has the potential to reach older adults with obesity using novel methods in geographically isolated regions.


Obesity Rural Mobile health Older adults Qualitative 



Mobile health


mHealth Obesity Wellness Intervention



Dr. Batsis’ research reported in this publication was supported in part by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K23AG051681. Support was also provided by the Dartmouth Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U48DP005018 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dartmouth Clinical and Translational Science Institute, under Award Number UL1TR001086 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Batsis has received Honoraria from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the Endocrine Society and provided services to Dinse, Knapp and McAndrew Legal Firm. Dr. Bartels receives funding from the National Institute of Mental Health [K12 HS0217695 (AHRQ), NIMH: T32 MH073553, R01 MH078052, R01 MH089811; R24 MH102794 CDC U48DP005018]. Drs. Kotz and Naslund report receiving support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (P30 DA029926). Dr. Carpenter-Song is supported in part by the National Institute on Aging K23AG051681. Dr. Kotz is also supported from the National Science Foundation Grants CNS-1314281 and CNS-1619970.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest pertaining to this manuscript.

Ethics Approval

The Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects approved this human research study (CPHS #28905).

Supplementary material

10900_2019_720_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of General Internal MedicineDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterLebanonUSA
  2. 2.Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical PracticeLebanonUSA
  3. 3.Dartmouth Centers for Health and AgingDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  4. 4.Health Promotion Research Center at DartmouthLebanonUSA
  5. 5.Dartmouth Weight & Wellness CenterLebanonUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiologyDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  7. 7.Center for Technology and Behavioral HealthDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  8. 8.Department of Computer ScienceDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  9. 9.Department of AnthropologyDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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