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Want to move more? Cal Poly study has an app for that 

Researchers hoping to cut sedentary screen time

–Are you looking to reduce your screen time but can’t quite find the motivation? Cal Poly needs people to participate in a new study that could help you break the habit.

Research shows that sedentary screen time — activities such as TV, social media, and video games — has increased during the pandemic. On an average day, Americans spend nearly eight hours engaging in recreational sedentary screen time. This lack of movement shortens life expectancy and increases the risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Researchers at Cal Poly’s Center for Health Research hope a smartphone app will cut that time.

“We know that sedentary screen time is bad for health, but there’s very little research on how to actually reduce screen time,” said Sarah Keadle, professor in the Kinesiology and Public Health Department and lead researcher. “We are excited about the technology-based approach that allows us to monitor all aspects of screen time, and we know that apps-based interventions are effective in increasing physical activity.”

Participants in the study will receive a Fitbit to keep and use the self-monitoring StandUPTV app, to view their daily and weekly sedentary screen time habits. The app provides:

  1.  A lockout feature that will disable tablet and TV once users reach a certain amount of time
  2.  Alerts that provide personalized content about the length of a user’s most recent period of screen time
  3. Feedback related to physical activity and the ability to earn more screen time by being more active

Participants will be instructed to use the StandUPTV app at their discretion for 16 consecutive weeks. A telephone and email hotline will be available to help with any technical questions.

Studies have shown that personal tracking can lead to behavior change, but this type of approach to decreasing screen time hasn’t been tried before.

“Screen time consumes the majority of our leisure time and displaces opportunities to be physically active” Keadle said. “All participants who enroll in the study will receive a behavioral intervention and self-monitoring tools that we hypothesize will decrease screen time and ultimately improve mental and physical health. “

Study staff will call participants periodically, and participants will be measured for changes in weight and activity level.

To qualify for the StandUPTV study, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 23 and 64
  • Own a smartphone or tablet
  • Have internet access and/or unlimited data plan


For more information or to enroll, call the StandUPTV Team at (805) 756-5506 or visit

Financial compensation is available. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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