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Are we fit yet? English adolescent girls’ experiences of health and fitness apps

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journal contribution
posted on 06.07.2016, 11:06 authored by Annaleise Depper, David Howe
In recent years, society has witnessed a proliferation of digital technologies facilitate new ways to monitor young people’s health. This paper explores a group of English adolescent girls’ understandings of ‘health’ promoted by health and fitness related technologies. Five focus group meetings with the same 8 girls, aged between 14 and 17, were conducted to explore their experiences of using health and fitness apps. The girls’ understandings of the digitised body are examined through a Foucauldian lens, with particular attention to conceptualisations of bio-power and technologies of the self. The data reveal how the girls negotiated, and at times critiqued, the multiple health discourses that are manifest through digital health technologies and performative health culture. The results emphasise that individual-based applications (apps) remove the social and interactive elements of physical activity valued by the girls. This research highlights the possibilities digital technologies provide for health promotion, yet also illuminates the limitations of these technologies if used uncritically and inappropriately.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Health Sociology Review


DEPPER, A. and HOWE, P.D., 2016. Are we fit yet? English adolescent girls’ experiences of health and fitness apps. Health Sociology Review, 26 (1), pp. 98-112.


Taylor and Francis (© 2016 Informa UK Limited)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Health Sociology Review on 4th July 2016, available online: