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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY Title: Design of a website on nutrition and physical activity for adolescents: results from formative research

Authors
item Thompson, Deborah
item Cullen, Karen -
item Boushey, Carol -
item Konzelmann, Karen -

Submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2012
Publication Date: April 26, 2012
Citation: Thompson, D.J., Cullen, K., Boushey, C., Konzelmann, K. 2012. Design of a website on nutrition and physical activity for adolescents: results from formative research. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 14(2):e59.

Interpretive Summary: The internet may be an effective way to reach teens with information on healthy behaviors. For programs to be effective, however, the program needs to be teen friendly. This article describes how teens contributed to the development of an online program promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors. It is critical that members of the target audience be included in formative research to develop behavior change programs that are relevant, appealing, and address their needs and interests.

Technical Abstract: Teens do not meet guidelines for healthy eating and physical activity. The internet may be an effective method for delivering programs that help them adopt healthy behaviors. Our objective was to collect information to design content and structure for a teen-friendly web site promoting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Qualitative research, encompassing both focus group and interview techniques, were used to design the website. Participants were 12-17 year olds in Houston, TX and West Lafayette, IN. We found that focus groups (n=26 groups; 133 participants in total) and interviews (n=15 interviews) provided guidance for the development of teen-friendly content and structure for an online behavior change program promoting healthy eating and physical activity to 12-17 year olds. Youth made suggestions to overcome common barriers to healthy eating and physical activity. Their feedback was used to develop "Teen Choice: Food & Fitness", a 12-week online behavior change program, populated by four cartoon character role models. We can conclude that it is critical that members of the target audience be included in formative research to develop behavior change programs that are relevant, appealing, and address their needs and interests.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014