Obesity prevention in infants using m-health: lessons from the Growing healthy program

Author: 
Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, Rachel Laws, Kok Leong Ong, Sarah Taki, Roslaind Elliott, Leva Azadi, Georgina Russell, Karen Campbell
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Program: 
Stream 1 Families with young children
Year: 
2015

Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne, 16-18 October 2015

This presentation is available here.

Introduction

M-health interventions are increasingly popular due to their low cost, potential for widespread dissemination and reach to target groups. For m-health programs to have an impact on behaviour they must be engaging and relevant to the target audience. However there is limited literature to inform researchers about the development process. This presentation shares key challenges and lessons learnt in the development of a mobile phone based (m-health) program aimed at promoting infant feeding practices that promote healthy rather than excess weight gain.

Methods

The Growing healthy program consists of an app and website. Users receive three messages a week that link to relevant information in the app or website. The development of the program involved: an analysis of existing apps and websites on infant feeding, literature reviews, qualitative work with health practitioners and parents and consumer testing to enhance engagement and usability. Researchers documented development challenges and lessons throughout the process. The effectiveness of the app/website will be measured by participants’ engagement as well as key outcomes.

Results

There were key learnings in all domains of the project development, including the app content, navigation and appearance and the technology for both the app functionality and to embed data collection. 

Conclusion

Although m-health interventions can affect health behavior, the development process is extensive. We provide guidance on this process and key outcomes.