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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00060

‘CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT AND INTEREST IN MOBILE APPLICATION (APP) INTERVENTIONS FOCUSED ON EARLY PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY’

 Sarah Taki1, 2, 3, 4*,  Catherine G. Russell3, 5,  Li Ming Wen1, 2, 4, Rachel A. Laws3, 4, 6, Karen Campbell3, 4, 6, Huilan Xu1 and  Elizabeth Denney-Wilson3, 4, 7
  • 1Health Promotion Unit, Sydney Local Health District, Australia
  • 2School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia
  • 3Centre for Obesity Management and Prevention Research Excellence in Primary Health Care (COMPaRE-PHC), Australia
  • 4NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood, Australia
  • 5Centre for Advanced Sensory Science, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Australia
  • 6Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Australia
  • 7Sydney Nursing School, Australia

Background and aims:
There has been increasing interest in using mobile applications (‘apps’) for innovative health service delivery and public health interventions. This paper describes two independent studies investigating mothers’ or pregnant women’s perceptions of, interest in and experiences with technological devices, apps and websites for health information.
Methods:
Study 1 was a cross-sectional survey conducted with 107 pregnant women in their third trimester in late 2016 and early 2017. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine factors associated with their app usage. The second was a qualitative study of 29 mothers of infants aged less than one year conducted in 2014. Thematic analysis network was used to explore the themes from the transcribed interviews.
Results:
Study 1 found that the use of apps was common among the pregnant women, with 100% having previously downloaded an app on their phone either free or paid. About 60% had used an app for health purposes. The majority reported that they were likely to use an app promoting healthy infant feeding practices, including 30% extremely likely and 53% very likely. Women with university or other tertiary level of education were more likely to use an app for promoting healthy infant feeding practices than those with other levels of education (adjusted odds ratio 3.22, 95% confidence interval 1.28 to 8.13).
The qualitative interviews found that all the mothers were interested in a mobile program to support them with infant feeding practices. Participants felt they would benefit from individualised messages although did not want message to be sent too frequently. Further, first time mothers felt that videos would help them with food preparation and the mothers wanted information that is not judgemental.
Conclusions
Both studies suggest that using apps for promoting healthy infant feeding practices is acceptable from the perspective of mothers. There is great potential for health promotion practitioners to be engaged in app development for the purpose of promoting health in early years and health promotion in general.

Keywords: mHealth, smartphone, Obesity, Infant, Children, Parents, Nutritional Requirements

Received: 12 Jul 2018; Accepted: 26 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Clare H. Llewellyn, University College London, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Andrea D. Smith, University College London, United Kingdom
Megan Hammersley, University of Wollongong, Australia  

Copyright: © 2019 Taki, Russell, Wen, Laws, Campbell, Xu and Denney-Wilson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Sarah Taki, Sydney Local Health District, Health Promotion Unit, Sydney, NSW, Australia, sarah_taki@hotmail.com