Exploring the effect of an intervention on families using an intelligent personal system to deliver behaviour change techniques, compared to non-technology based delivery

Exploring the effect of an intervention on families using an intelligent personal system to deliver behaviour change techniques, compared to non-technology based delivery. Angela Carlin, Caomhan Logue, Alison Gallagher, Marie Murphy (Ulster University); Project Partner: The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre (OLT)

The high incidence of childhood obesity and the associated risk of developing obesity-related co-morbidities earlier in life mean that schoolchildren are a key target population for the promotion of sustainable healthy behaviours. To date, the majority of health interventions within this population have focused on the school setting; however, the influence of parents and other family members on health behaviours at this stage of the lifecycle is well-established. Therefore, interventions should also target the wider family when seeking to promote physical activity and other health-related behaviours such as healthy eating in school children.

Recent years have seen a rapid integration of technology into everyday life, particularly within the home environment. Intelligent personal systems such as Amazon Echo and Google Home can now be used to stream audio entertainment, control other smart devices and promote health, for example, online fitness coaching. To date, little is known about the potential role that such devices can play in positively influencing health-related behaviours within the home setting.

The proposed project will adopt a cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary approach to explore the role of intelligent personal systems within the home environment for promoting and maintaining physical activity and other health-related behaviours in school children participating in the community-based, family-focused SWEET (Safe Wellbeing Eating & Exercise Together as a family) project. Motivation towards using the devices, and the impact on behaviour once the technology has been removed will also be explored. Additionally, the project will examine engagement with and acceptability of this technology from the participant’s perspective.