Current Research

Mentoring in mHealth and Social Networking Interventions for CVD Risk Reduction
NIH
2K24HL124366-06 (Pagoto) 07/15/20-06/30/25
The proposed work will produce training experiences and data that will contribute to the mentorship of the next generation of researchers who will have transdisciplinary expertise to leverage social media in the delivery of CVD prevention interventions.

Developing a food image recognition technique to evaluate the nutrition information of restaurant foods and community food environment.
CAHNR
(Xu) 10/01/20-09/30/23
In this proposal we plan to (1) extend and develop a deep-learning-based food image recognition technique for nutrition assessment of restaurant foods, and (2) apply it to assess the community food environment in the Hartford area, (3) validate the deep-learning results with structured interviews and surveys at local restaurants.

Building Habits Together: Feasibility trial of an integrated mobile and social network weight loss intervention
NIH
1R34HL145439-01A1 (Pagoto) 09/01/20-08/31/23
We propose to build upon our previous work to create a behavioral weight loss program in which integrated technologies facilitate meaningful participant engagement and the execution of evidence-based behavioral strategies for weight loss.

How mothers evaluate and spread information related to child nutrition on social media
USDA
(Waring) 10/1/19-9/30/22
We will explore how mothers evaluate the veracity of child nutrition information they encounter on social media and examine factors influencing the spread of child nutrition misinformation in online social networks.

Single arm trial of a multi-component commercial digital weight loss program
WW
AG200853 (Pagoto) 01/01/21-12/31/21
The goal of the proposed research project is to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of an online multicomponent commercial weight loss program and to understand the relationship between program engagement and outcomes.

The Healthy Moms Study: Comparison of a Post-Partum Weight Loss Intervention Delivered Via Facebook or In-Person Groups
NIH/NHLBI
1R34HL136979 (Waring), 05/15/2017-03/31/2021
We will conduct a pilot randomized trial with overweight or obese post-partum women comparing delivery of a post-partum weight loss intervention via Facebook or in-person group sessions to assess the feasibility of the Facebook-delivered intervention. In pre-pilot and post-intervention focus groups, we will solicit women’s feedback on posts with low engagement, and will iteratively refine these posts to make them more engaging. We will also develop procedures for measuring time on Facebook to participate in the intervention.

Completed Projects

Using a Narrative-Based Approach to Reducing Indoor Tanning
NIH
1R21CA226133-01 (Pagoto) 04/01/18-03/31/20
We propose to develop and test the feasibility of a narrative-based social media intervention for indoor tanning that will ultimately be implemented by Skin Smart Campus, a national initiative co-chaired by the PI to promote skin cancer prevention policy and education on university campuses nationwide.

Development of an Instagram-delivered gestational weight gain intervention
UConn Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP)
InCHIP Faculty/Researcher Seed Grant (Waring), 07/01/18-08/31/20
We propose to adapt our previously-developed online gestational weight gain intervention for delivery via Instagram. First, we will content analyze Instagram posts related to weight, diet, and physical activity during pregnancy, and identify post characteristics associated with greater engagement. Second, we will survey pregnant women to solicit feedback on the proposed intervention. Third, we will conduct a 2-week pre-pilot to assess feasibility and obtain women’s feedback under real use conditions.

FB + Friends: Mentoring in mHealth and Social Networking Interventions for CVD Risk Reduction
NIH
1K24HL124366-01A1 (Pagoto) 02/1/18-03/31/20
The purpose of this study is to test ways to leverage mobile technologies and social media to increase the impact, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and dissemination potential of lifestyle interventions that reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Mobile technology and social media have the potential to reduce the intensity of traditional prevention interventions and enhance outcome by delivering behavioral strategies in-the-moment and by connecting patients other patients to generate better communication and a social support system for lifestyle changes.

Get Social: Randomized Trial of a Social Network Delivered Lifestyle Intervention
NIH/NIDDK
1R01DK103944-01A1 (Pagoto) 09/25/15-07/31/19
The purpose of this project is to conduct a non-inferiority trial to compare a lifestyle intervention delivered entirely via private groups on the online social network Twitter to a traditional in-person group-based lifestyle intervention. We will also compare the costs of the interventions, and explore predictors of weight loss in the online social network condition.

Likes Pins and Views: Engaging Moms on Teen Indoor Tanning Thru Social Media
NIH
1R01CA192652-01 (Pagoto) 6/1/15-4/30/20
This study proposes to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a social media indoor tanning campaign to decrease mothers’ permissiveness for, and prevalence of, indoor tanning by daughters and increase mothers’ support for policy restrictions on indoor tanning by minors to improve the effectiveness of indoor tanning regulations.

RELAX:  A mobile application suite targeting obesity and stress
NIH
1R01HL122302-01A1 (Pagoto) 12/14-11/17
The purpose of this proposal is to develop and test the feasibility and proof-of-concept of RELAX Application Suite (AS), a mobile-, cloud- and web-based companion to a brief visit lifestyle intervention for obese individuals. RELAX-AS will be designed to reduce clinical visit time and cost by identifying and displaying behavior patterns that account for the greatest deviations in energy balance.