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Barriers and Enablers to the Adoption of a Healthier Diet Using an App: Qualitative Interview Study With Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Montilva-Monsalve, Jonas; Dimantas, Bruna; Perski, Olga; Gutman, Leslie Morrison; (2023) Barriers and Enablers to the Adoption of a Healthier Diet Using an App: Qualitative Interview Study With Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. JMIR Diabetes , 8 , Article e49097. 10.2196/49097. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Adopting a healthy diet is one of the cornerstones of type 2 diabetes (T2D) management. Apps are increasingly used in diabetes self-management, but most studies to date have focused on assessing their impact in terms of weight loss or glycemic control, with limited evidence on the behavioral factors that influence app use to change dietary habits. OBJECTIVE: The main objectives of this study were to assess the enablers and barriers to adopting a healthier diet using the Gro Health app in 2 patient groups with T2D (patients with recently diagnosed and long-standing T2D) and to identify behavior change techniques (BCTs) to enhance enablers and overcome barriers. METHODS: Two semistructured qualitative interview studies were conducted; the first study took place between June and July 2021, with a sample of 8 patients with recently diagnosed (<12 mo) T2D, whereas the second study was conducted between May and June 2022 and included 15 patients with long-standing (>18 mo) T2D. In both studies, topic guides were informed by the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, and Behavior model and the Theoretical Domains Framework. Transcripts were analyzed using a combined deductive framework and inductive thematic analysis approach. The Behavior Change Wheel framework was applied to identify appropriate BCTs that could be used in future iterations of apps for patients with diabetes. Themes were compared between the patient groups. RESULTS: This study identified similarities and differences between patient groups in terms of enablers and barriers to adopting a healthier diet using the app. The main enablers for recently diagnosed patients included the acquired knowledge about T2D diets and skills to implement these, whereas the main barriers were the difficulty in deciding which app features to use and limited cooking skills. By contrast, for patients with long-standing T2D, the main enablers included knowledge validation provided by the app, along with app elements to help self-regulate food intake; the main barriers were the limited interest paid to the content provided or limited skills engaging with apps in general. Both groups reported more enablers than barriers to performing the target behavior when using the app. Consequently, BCTs were selected to address key barriers in both groups, such as simplifying the information hierarchy in the app interface, including tutorials demonstrating how to use the app features, and redesigning the landing page of the app to guide users toward these tutorials. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with recently diagnosed and long-standing T2D encountered similar enablers but slightly different barriers when using an app to adopting a healthier diet. Consequently, the development of app-based approaches to adopt a healthier diet should account for these similarities and differences within patient segments to reduce barriers to performing the target behavior.

Type: Article
Title: Barriers and Enablers to the Adoption of a Healthier Diet Using an App: Qualitative Interview Study With Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Location: Canada
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2196/49097
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/49097
Language: English
Additional information: ©Jonas Montilva-Monsalve, Bruna Dimantas, Olga Perski, Leslie Morrison Gutman. Originally published in JMIR Diabetes (https://diabetes.jmir.org), 19.12.2023. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Diabetes, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://diabetes.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Keywords: apps, barriers, behavior change techniques, diabetes, enablers, mobile phone, smartphone
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10184714
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