Online and Offline Behavior Change Techniques to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle: A Qualitative Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 4;19(1):521. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19010521.


Combined lifestyle interventions (CLI) are focused on guiding clients with weight-related health risks into a healthy lifestyle. CLIs are most often delivered through face-to-face sessions with limited use of eHealth technologies. To integrate eHealth into existing CLIs, it is important to identify how behavior change techniques are being used by health professionals in the online and offline treatment of overweight clients. Therefore, we conducted online semi-structured interviews with providers of online and offline lifestyle interventions. Data were analyzed using an inductive thematic approach. Thirty-eight professionals with (n = 23) and without (n = 15) eHealth experience were interviewed. Professionals indicate that goal setting and action planning, providing feedback and monitoring, facilitating social support, and shaping knowledge are of high value to improve physical activity and eating behaviors. These findings suggest that it may be beneficial to use monitoring devices combined with video consultations to provide just-in-time feedback based on the client's actual performance. In addition, it can be useful to incorporate specific social support functions allowing CLI clients to interact with each other. Lastly, our results indicate that online modules can be used to enhance knowledge about health consequences of unhealthy behavior in clients with weight-related health risks.

Keywords: behavior change techniques; combined lifestyle interventions; eHealth; overweight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Overweight
  • Qualitative Research