Herman Saksono, Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa, Jessica Hoffman, Magy Seif El-Nasr, Vivien Morris, Andrea Parker. 2018. Social Reflections on Fitness Tracking Data: A Study with Families in Low-SES Neighborhoods. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland UK. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 14 pages. (PDF)
Wearable activity trackers can encourage physical activity (PA)—a behavior critical for preventing obesity and reducing the risks of chronic diseases. However, prior work has rarely explored how these tools can leverage family support or help people think about strategies for being active—two factors necessary for achieving regular PA. In this 2-month qualitative study, we investigated PA tracking practices amongst 14 families living in low-income neighborhoods, where obesity is prevalent. We characterize how social discussions of PA data rarely extended beyond the early stages of experiential learning, thus limiting the utility of PA trackers. Caregivers and children rarely analyzed their experiences to derive insights about the meaning of their PA data for their wellbeing. Those who engaged in these higher-order learning processes were often influenced by parenting beliefs shaped by personal health experiences. We contribute recommendations for how technology can more effectively support family experiential learning using PA tracking data.