Developing the "Choosing Health" digital weight loss and maintenance intervention: Intervention mapping study

Iga Palacz-Poborczyk, Paulina Idziak, Anna Januszewicz, Aleksandra Luszczynska, Eleanor Quested, Felix Naughton, Martin S. Hagger, Sherry Pagoto, Peter Verboon, Suzanne Robinson, Dominika Kwasnicka

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Background: Digital health promotion programs tailored to the individual are a potential cost-effective and scalable solution to enable self-management and provide support to people with excess body weight. However, solutions that are widely accessible, personalized, and theory- and evidence-based are still limited.

Objective: This study aimed to develop a digital behavior change program, Choosing Health, that could identify modifiable predictors of weight loss and maintenance for each individual and use these to provide tailored support.

Methods: We applied an Intervention Mapping protocol to design the program. This systematic approach to develop theory- and evidence-based health promotion programs consisted of 6 steps: development of a logic model of the problem, a model of change, intervention design and intervention production, the implementation plan, and the evaluation plan. The decisions made during the Intervention Mapping process were guided by theory, existing evidence, and our own research—including 4 focus groups (n=40), expert consultations (n=12), and interviews (n=11). The stakeholders included researchers, public representatives (including individuals with overweight and obesity), and experts from a variety of relevant backgrounds (including nutrition, physical activity, and the health care sector).

Results: Following a structured process, we developed a tailored intervention that has the potential to reduce excess body weight and support behavior changes in people with overweight and obesity. The Choosing Health intervention consists of tailored, personalized text messages and email support that correspond with theoretical domains potentially predictive of weight outcomes for each participant. The intervention content includes behavior change techniques to support motivation maintenance, self-regulation, habit formation, environmental restructuring, social support, and addressing physical and psychological resources.

Conclusions: The use of an Intervention Mapping protocol enabled the systematic development of the Choosing Health intervention and guided the implementation and evaluation of the program. Through the involvement of different stakeholders, including representatives of the general public, we were able to map out program facilitators and barriers while increasing the ecological validity of the program to ensure that we build an intervention that is useful, user-friendly, and informative. We also summarized the lessons learned for the Choosing Health intervention development and for other health promotion programs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere34089
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022

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