Background: Childrens sugar intake in the UK is above current recommendations, contributing to the rise of overweight and obesity. The Change4Life Food Scanner app aims to encourage parents to reduce their childrens sugar consumption. The app allows for packaged foods to be scanned and displays total sugar content in cubes and grams. To date the app has not been independently evaluated despite its popularity on the app market. This research aims to develop a pilot and feasibility randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the Food Scanner app in reducing childrens sugar and energy intake and explore possible dietary compensatory behaviours. An early economic evaluation will be undertaken alongside the feasibility trial providing insights into associated potential costs and benefits of the app.
Methods: Parents of 411 year olds will be recruited and randomised into an intervention arm, with app exposure, or a control arm. Over three-months, participants will complete baseline and follow-up measures of dietary intake (3-day food diary) and psychological predictors of behaviour change. The latter will include questions on parental attitudes on child sugar intake as well as knowledge on sugar intake recommendations and nutritional food labels. Those receiving the intervention will be asked both closed- and opened-ended questions on app engagement, experience and feedback.
Results: Results will indicate the effectiveness of using explicit images of sugar intake on dietary changes, including compensatory behaviours, as well as insights into the psychosocial factors that may mediate such relationships. Cost-effectiveness will be determined through the calculation of an incremental cost effectiveness ratio and net monetary benefits at a £20,000 willingness to pay threshold. Additionally, qualitative analysis of open-ended questions will identify app improvements to encourage longer-term engagement.
Conclusions: This research aims to determine the feasibility of a fully powered RCT and will help provide useful insights into the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and suggested improvements of the Food Scanner app.
Keywords: Childhood obesity, obesity prevention, digital intervention, sugar, diet, behaviour change.
Disclosures: This research is funded by the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Programme in Public Health, Health Economics and Decision Sciences.
12 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019