Using a lifestyle management application for women with prediabetes to assist with behaviour change: A qualitative exploration


Lifestyle behaviour change is challenging; however, technology can positively assist in this area. There is an increased interest from researchers and clinicians to utilize smartphone applications (apps) to deliver health-related interventions or assist with behaviour change. As six million people in Canada are living with prediabetes, lifestyle adjustments are needed to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle interventions involving exercise and diet can reduce this progression. Due to resource challenges, most lifestyle inverventions are short-lived. As such, utilizing effective accessible and user-friendly technological tools can help individuals beyond the intervention. The purpose of this study was to explore users' experiences with using a lifestyle management app (HealthWatch 360) for women with prediabetes. Use of this app was one component of a 3-week behaviour change program. Participants were guided in how to use the app at program commencement. After program completion, participants were encouraged to continue to use the app to assist with behaviour changes related to exercise and diet. Fourteen women (Mage=60.07, SD=5.05) were interviewed at two time points (post-intervention, 3-month follow-up; Mlength=49 min) to understand experiences with using HealthWatch 360 to aid in prediabetes management. Interviews were conducted as limited qualitative research exists in this area and less on understanding the effectiveness of apps over time. An inductive thematic analysis revealed three themes related to app use: facilitators, barriers, and recommendations. Findings provide insight into opportunities and challenges in utilizing an app as part of health-related behaviour change and can inform evidence-based interventions that integrate lifestyle apps.

Acknowledgments: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research