A behavioural science and user-centred design led healthy eating app supporting parents in childhood weight management
PHE ePoster Library. Curtis K. 09/13/16; 137904; 42
Dr. Kristina Curtis
Dr. Kristina Curtis
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Abstract Introduction: The proliferation of mobile health (mHealth) apps combined with smartphones' array of features offer huge potential for supporting childhood weight management. Existing apps might involve user-centred design (UCD) but lack a basis in behaviour change theory and evidence. This study aimed to address these deficits in the design of an app for childhood weight management.Methods: The Behaviour Change Wheel framework (BCW), a theoretically-based approach for health behaviour change intervention development, along with a UCD philosophy and collaboration with industry, guided the development process. Participants (N=70) comprised Change4Life advisors, parents with overweight and healthy weight children aged 5-11 years, university students and staff, and consultation with experts.Results: Input from participants identified the need to support parents' provision of age-appropriate food portion sizes. Behavioural analysis revealed the need to change parents' emotional responses, habits and beliefs relating to portion sizes, as well as provide support to address social influences including partners and grandparents. Targets for change were mapped to 23 behaviour change techniques (BCTs) and data regarding parents' app preferences supported translation of these into engaging app features. Conclusion: Application of the BCW to childhood weight management yielded a novel conceptualisation of approaches to support parents' portion control behaviours within the home environment. This research is the first to fully explicate the systematic approach applied in developing a family-oriented mHealth app grounded in behavioural science and UCD and provides a detailed exemplar of how to translate theory into practice for the development of other public health interventions.
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