Tailored eHealth Lifestyle Promotion: Which Behavioral Modules Do Users Prefer?

D.N. Schulz*, S.P.J. Kremers, H. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Health risk behaviors are widespread among adults and often co-occur. eHealth computer-tailored technology provides individuals with personalized feedback regarding multiple lifestyle behaviors. First, the authors investigated individuals' preferences for particular lifestyle modules and hypothesised that health preventive behavior modules would be preferred over addictive behavior modules. Second, characteristics associated with these choices were examined. A web-based questionnaire assessed demographics, health status, and five lifestyle behaviors (i.e., physical activity, fruit consumption, vegetable consumption, alcohol intake and tobacco use) among adults (N = 1,828). Responses were translated into a health risk appraisal outlining whether respondents adhered to the national guidelines for these behaviors. Next, respondents could select one of the lifestyle modules providing personalized advice. More than 60% of the participants failed to meet the guidelines for more than one lifestyle behavior. The physical activity module was the most popular, followed by the smoking and fruit modules. Young adults tended to prefer the physical activity and fruit modules, whereas the vegetable module was more popular among older adults. No consistent pattern was identified for the alcohol and smoking modules. The results support the authors' hypothesis that health preventive behaviors-in particular, physical activity-would be preferred. Although this could imply that physical activity could serve as a gateway behavior when aiming at multiple behavior changes, it is also conceivable that other mechanisms, such as the actual success of behavior change, or the fact that people can choose, may increase chances of multiple behavior change. Hence, mechanisms leading to multiple behavior change need to be further explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-672
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health Communication : International Perspectives
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2015



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