Effect of a WhatsApp walking trial on daily steps among female Saudi Arabian university students


Objective: Physical inactivity in Saudi women is high, even among young women (60% of university students are physically inactive). We aimed to investigate the effect of a physical activity intervention on daily walking among female students at a Saudi university.

Methods: Two hundred and seven female students (mean age: 22.6 ± 1.3; body mass index: 24.6 ± 5.9) participated in a parallel-group randomized trial. The intervention group wore pedometers and received health-promotion messages for 12 weeks through WhatsApp®; the control group received a similar number of messages unrelated to health. Average daily steps and self-reported activity were assessed at baseline and after 3 months. Analysis followed an intention-to-treat approach. Group differences in average daily steps were assessed using a two (group) by 2 (time) ANOVA. F-tests for main effects and the interaction were evaluated; P < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: There was a significant group-by-time interaction, that is, the intervention group had a significantly higher change in daily steps compared to the control group (+576 vs. −525; F = 4.33, P = 0.04). Self-reported daily activity was not significantly different by group.

Conclusions: The intervention was effective at improving the number of daily steps in young women. Future studies could test this intervention among other student groups.


intervention physical activity university students walking
Saquib, J., Alhomaidan, H. T. ., Al-Mohaimeed, A. ., Aljaghwani, L. ., Al-Mohaimeed, R. ., Alghadhiyah, D. ., Altwijri, R. ., Alazmi, A. L. ., Al-Mohaimeed, F. A. ., Alhamed, G. S. ., Alsowiyan, A. A. ., Alharbi, A. M. ., & Saquib, N. . (2023). Effect of a WhatsApp walking trial on daily steps among female Saudi Arabian university students. International Journal of Health Sciences, 17(2). Retrieved from https://pub.qu.edu.sa/index.php/journal/article/view/6343
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Author Biography

Juliann Saquib, Sulaiman Al Rajhi University
Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine

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