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Customization in eHealth – The application of customization in behavioural change interventions aimed at improving physical activity and dietary behaviour

Ayseli, Sophia (2020) Customization in eHealth – The application of customization in behavioural change interventions aimed at improving physical activity and dietary behaviour.

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Abstract:Background/ Objectives: The field of eHealth has experienced huge growth during the past decade. One of its most popular areas are interventions focused on nutrition and physical activity. A problem is that these interventions cannot cause long-term behavioral changes in users. One possibility to improve this maintenance is to adapt interventions to the individual user. A customization is a new approach to user adaption, which has become a relevant topic in research during the past years. This research aims to explore customization, in the context of eHealth fitness- and nutrition interventions, to draw a comparison between research and practice. Method: For this purpose, two studies were executed. Study 1 consisted of a systematic literature review, examining customization and similar approaches to user adaption in current literature on eHealth nutrition- and physical activity interventions. Five databases including Google Scholar, Scopus, PsycINFO, and IEEE were searched. Studies were included when they encompassed a behavioural change intervention, mentioned customization or a similar user adaptation approach, addressed a general adult population, were published in the past fifteen years, and were written in German or English. In total, 18 studies met the criteria and were included in the review. In Study 2, a content analysis of currently available nutrition- and fitness-focused apps was executed, using a coding scheme that was developed from the results of Study 1. Apps were included in the analysis if they were placed in the Health and Fitness category of the iTunes app store, focused behavioural change related to nutrition, diet, or physical activity, and addressed a general adult population. In total, 21 apps were considered in the content analysis. Results/ Conclusion: The results of Study 1 show that customization is not a clearly defined construct across research yet. From the current perspective, customization can be understood as an approach to user adaption which specifies itself by providing users with more autonomy in comparison to other user adaption approaches. The findings of Study 2 show that there is an overlap between current research on customization and its application in practice, but only to a moderate extent. Future research is recommended to focus on the development of a clear, unified definition of customization. Further, higher accordance between research and practice appears to be advisable to develop more successful behavioral change interventions in the field of eHealth.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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