An app to improve eating habits of adolescents and young adults (Challenge to Go) : systematic development of a theory-based and target group-adapted mobile app intervention

Anna Rohde, Anja Duensing, Christine Dawczynski, Jasmin Godemann, Stefan Lorkowski, Christine Brombach
2021
Due to the widespread use of mobile phones, dietary mobile apps are promising tools for preventing diet-related noncommunicable diseases early in life. However, most of the currently available nutrition apps lack scientific evaluation and user acceptance. Objective: The objective of this study was the systematic design of a theory-driven and target group-adapted dietary mobile app concept to promote healthy eating habits with a focus on drinking habits as well as consumption of fruits and
more » ... bles in adolescents and young adults, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds. Methods: The design process was guided by the behavior change wheel (BCW). The development process comprised 3 stages. In stage 1, the target behavior was specified, and facilitators and barriers were identified. Furthermore, important insights into target group interests, needs, and values in the field of nutrition and apps were revealed. To this end, 2 empirical studies were conducted with the target group. In stage 2, results of stage 1 were translated into behavior change techniques (BCTs) and, finally, into app functionalities and features. Consequently, in stage 3, the concept was evaluated and optimized through expert interviews. Results: Facilitators and barriers for achieving the target behavior were psychological capabilities (eg, self-efficacy), reflective motivation (eg, fitness), automatic motivation, social support, and physical opportunity (eg, time). Target group interests, needs, and values in the field of nutrition were translated into target group preferences for app usage, for example, low usage effort, visual feedback, or recipes. Education, training, incentives, persuasion, and enablement were identified as relevant intervention functions. Together with the target group preferences, these were translated via 14 BCTs, such as rewards, graded tasks, or self-monitoring into the app concept Challenge to go (C2go). The expert evaluation suggested changes of some app features for improving adherence, positive health effects, and technical feasibility. The C2go concept comprises 3 worlds: the (1) drinking, (2) vegetable, and (3) fruit worlds. In each world, the users are faced with challenges including feedback and a quiz. Tips were developed based on the health action process approach and to help users gain challenges and, thereby, achieve the target behavior. Challenges can be played alone or against someone in the community. Due to different activities, points can be collected, and levels can be achieved. Collected points open access to an Infothek (information section), where users can choose content that interests them. An avatar guides user through the app.
doi:10.21256/zhaw-23349 fatcat:5oipkmv77vedzcxeodq4m22aky