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Development of an app-based intervention to support healthy eating, physical activity and weight management in pregnancy

Rhodes, Alexandra; (2024) Development of an app-based intervention to support healthy eating, physical activity and weight management in pregnancy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Poor diet quality, physical inactivity and excessive weight gain in pregnancy are associated with adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Dietary and physical activity interventions can be effective in promoting positive behaviour change and healthy gestational weight gain (GWG). Whilst digital interventions have proven less effective than in-person interventions, their comparatively lower cost, scalability and greater accessibility make them an attractive proposition for healthcare providers. Baby Buddy, a free pregnancy and parenting app from UK charity Best Beginnings, is designed to support parents and improve health outcomes. Its use within the National Health Service makes it an ideal platform for delivering a new antenatal dietary and physical activity intervention. The aim of this thesis was to create a theory-based intervention within Baby Buddy to encourage and support expectant parents to develop healthier dietary and physical activity habits. Study 1 was a systematic review and meta-analysis of digital interventions targeting diet and/or physical activity in pregnancy. Meta-analyses showed lower GWG for interventions compared to controls, although the mean difference of was non-significant for both intention to treat studies (n= 3), (mean difference -0.28 kgs, 95% CI: -1.43, 0.87) and per protocol studies (n=4), (mean difference -0.65 kgs, 95% CI: -1.98, 0.67). An analysis of the behaviour change techniques used in the interventions informed the rudimentary intervention concept. Adhering to the principles of the Person-Based Approach to intervention development, three stages of qualitative research with target users (n= 83) guided the intervention design process (Studies 2, 3 & 4). Regular consultation with a Public Patient Involvement and Engagement group (n=18), Best Beginnings and other expert contributors (n=14) shaped the intervention design. The result, Baby Steps to Healthier Habits, was built and integrated into Baby Buddy with funding from the AIM Foundation. A service evaluation and feasibility study is planned.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Development of an app-based intervention to support healthy eating, physical activity and weight management in pregnancy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: 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 Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
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
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10187323
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