Consumer engagement in mobile application (app) interventions focused on supporting infant feeding practices for early prevention of childhood obesity
journal contributionposted on 01.03.2019, 00:00 authored by Sarah Taki, Georgie RussellGeorgie Russell, Li M Wen, Rachel LawsRachel Laws, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell, Huilan Xu, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson
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 about infant feeding practices. 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 <1 year conducted in 2014. Thematic network analysis 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 1.28-8.13). 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 individualized messages although did not want them to be sent too frequently. Further, participants also expressed the importance of having non-judgmental information and they were interested in receiving information using different modes such as videos, SMS or an app. 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.