Use and Appreciation of a Web-Based, Computer-Tailored Diet and Physical Activity Intervention Based on the Self-determination Theory: Evaluation Study of Process and Predictors

Juul M J Coumans, Anke Oenema, Catherine A W Bolman, Lilian Lechner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: eHealth is a promising tool for promoting lifestyle behaviors such as a healthy diet and physical activity (PA). However, making people use interventions is a crucial and challenging problem in eHealth. More insight into use patterns and predicting factors is needed to improve future interventions.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to examine the use, predictors of use, and appreciation of a web-based, computer-tailored, dietary and PA promotion intervention, MyLifestyleCoach, which is based on the self-determination theory. First, we depict the participants' flow in the intervention and identify moments when they are likely to discontinue use. Second, we investigate whether demographic, motivational, and program-related characteristics predict the use of several intervention elements. Finally, we report the appreciation scores for the intervention and the participant and program characteristics associated with these scores.

METHODS: This study was based on data from web-based self-report questionnaires. Here, objectively assessed intervention use data were analyzed from participants randomized to the intervention condition. Multiple stepwise (logistic) regression analyses were conducted to examine the predictors of intervention use and evaluation scores.

RESULTS: Our findings indicate a low full completion rate for the intervention among those who chose and completed the diet module (49/146, 33.6%), the PA module (2/12, 17%), and both modules (58/273, 21.2%). Several points in the intervention where participants were likely to stop using the intervention were identified. Autonomous and intrinsic motivation toward diet were related to the completion of the initial sessions of the intervention (ie, the opening session in which participants could choose which module to follow and the first session of the diet module). In contrast, controlled motivation was linked to the completion of both modules (initial and follow-up sessions). Appreciation scores were somewhat positive. Appreciation was predicted by several motivational constructs, such as amotivation and basic psychological needs (eg, competence) and program-related features (eg, number of completed sessions).

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds meaningful information on the use and appreciation of a web-based, computer-tailored dietary and PA intervention, MyLifestyleCoach. The results indicate that different types of motivations, such as extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, are at play at the points when people are likely to stop using the intervention. The intervention was appreciated fairly well, and several motivational constructs and fulfillment of basic psychological needs were associated with appreciation. Practical implications of these findings have been provided in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22390
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021


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