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Evaluating an Interactive Digital Intervention for College Weight Gain Prevention

      Abstract

      Objective

      Pilot a digital interactive intervention for weight gain prevention among college students.

      Methods

      One sample pre-post study reporting on initial usability and changes in theoretical constructs (ie, self-efficacy, behavioral capability, elaboration) and program acceptability. Twenty college freshmen (mean age, 18.25 ± 0.72 years) reviewed a digital program providing self-assessment and brief tailored feedback on 8 behaviors that relate to a healthy weight: physical activity, sedentary behavior, and consumption of sugary beverages, high fat snacks, breakfast, fried foods, fruits and vegetables, and pizza.

      Results

      At posttest, improvements in self-efficacy were found for 5 behaviors (ie, physical activity, high fat snacks, breakfast, fried foods, fruits and vegetables); improvements in behavioral capability were found for 3 behaviors (ie, high fat snacks, fried foods, and fruits and vegetables). Acceptability benchmarks included: positive impression (60%), relevance (95%), and ease of comprehension (75%).

      Conclusions and Implications

      This program demonstrates acceptability for a digital weight gain prevention intervention, with improvements in behavioral mediators of change. Suggestions to simplify messaging and allowing for user control may enhance acceptability and comprehension. There is a need for further testing with larger more diverse populations before broader implementation by universities to address student health.

      Key Words

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