Evidence-based health and well-being for entire populations.

College Health (liveWell)

liveWell: A Healthy Foundation for Life is an online, multimedia program designed to help college students improve their exercise, eating, and stress management habits.

liveWell is a two-part, self-administered program that includes:

  • An online computer tailored intervention (CTI) with questions and feedback individualized to each student
  • Dynamic web activities matched to the individual’s readiness to change (e.g. list of dorm snacks and grocery shopping tips on a budget to promotehealthy eating; stress management tools, including how to budget; a virtual flipbook matching users’ interests to a variety of exercises)

The program leverages state of the science best practices for tailoring of behavior change messages. In the CTI, students receive a unique combination of fully tailored (exercise) and optimally tailored (fruit and vegetable intake and stress management) messages to maximize outcomes while minimizing response burden.

Once the CTI is completed, the dynamic portal home page appears. The portal provides more content and specifics on how to apply each of the principles and processes of change users were encouraged to use in the CTI. The portal activities address well-being, exercise, fruit and vegetable/healthy eating, and stress management. Students have unlimited access to the portal once they have completed the first session of liveWell. When appropriate, the portal prompts the user to return to the CTI to complete their next session.

Effectiveness

A randomized controlled trial (n=1841 students in 108 sections of freshman experience classes) was conducted with 6-and 12-month follow-up. Classes were randomized to liveWell & First Year Experience Class (treatment) or First Year Experience Class (comparison).

Results indicated that:

  • liveWell significantly increased well-being (46.6% of liveWell + class participants who reported “struggling” or “suffering” at the beginning of the semester moved to thriving versus 30.1% of class-only participants).
  • More liveWell & class participants adopted regular exercise at 3-months (61.3% versus 42.9%).
  • liveWell increased healthy eating. Participants in the liveWell group (70.0%) were more likely to eat 4 ½ cups of fruit and vegetables a day at 3-months compared to the class only group (56.3%). More liveWell participants had adopted healthy eating habits at the 6-month follow-up as well. The liveWell group reported eating significantly more servings of fruit and vegetables than the class only group at 6 months (4.11 servings versus 2.46) and 12 months (3.83 versus 2.42).
  • Students participating in liveWell were more likely to continue managing stress at 3 and (93.0% versus 88.8%) and 6 months (80.9% versus 71%).
  • liveWell facilitated coaction: Students who participated in liveWell were more likely to generalize the gains they made in one behavior change to another.

Results Published

Johnson, S., Cummins, C., Broderick, L. & Castle, P. (2014, February 15-18). Effectiveness of liveWell: An online program to promote student well-being. Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience.

Qualitative results from our clients:

  • The students overwhelmingly enjoy it.
  • They are far more engaged. They are more confident that they can make behavior changes. And they really like the tailored encouragement.
  • liveWell is easy to use and fun for the students. It doesn’t take a lot of time to do the activities and although I assigned 9, most students have done 21, and one student did 70!
  • It’s very tailored and specific. The students talk about their stage of change and activities in class.
  • If a student’s goal is to quit smoking or get more sleep, they can apply the skills they learn in the liveWell program to those behaviors. I tell the students who are trying to quit to use the stress management and healthy eating programs to help manage quitting.
  • It’s simple and easy to register: one website, one address
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