Digital health interventions to improve eating behaviour of people with a lower socioeconomic position: a scoping review of behaviour change techniques

Authors Amber Ronteltap , Andrea J. Bukman , Gera E. Nagelhout , Roel C.J. Hermans , Karen Hosper , Annemien Haveman-Nies , Remko Lupker , Catherine A.W. Bolman
Published in BMC Nutrition
Publication date 2022
Research groups Innovation of Movement Care
Type Article


Specific approaches are needed to reach and support people with a lower socioeconomic position (SEP) to achieve healthier eating behaviours. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that digital health tools exhibit potential to address these needs because of its specific features that enable application of various behaviour change techniques (BCTs). The aim of this scoping review is to identify the BCTs that are used in diet-related digital interventions targeted at people with a low SEP, and which of these BCTs coincide with improved eating behaviour. The systematic search was performed in 3 databases, using terms related to e/m-health, diet quality and socioeconomic position. A total of 17 full text papers were included. The average number of BCTs per intervention was 6.9 (ranged 3–15). BCTs from the cluster ‘Goals and planning’ were applied most often (25x), followed by the clusters ‘Shaping knowledge’ (18x) and ‘Natural consequences’ (18x). Other frequently applied BCT clusters were ‘Feedback and monitoring’ (15x) and ‘Comparison of behaviour’ (13x). Whereas some BCTs were frequently applied, such as goal setting, others were rarely used, such as social support. Most studies (n = 13) observed a positive effect of the intervention on eating behaviour (e.g. having breakfast) in the low SEP group, but this was not clearly associated with the number or type of applied BCTs. In conclusion, more intervention studies focused on people with a low SEP are needed to draw firm conclusions as to which BCTs are effective in improving their diet quality. Also, further research should investigate combinations of BCTs, the intervention design and context, and the use of multicomponent approaches. We encourage intervention developers and researchers to describe interventions more thoroughly, following the systematics of a behaviour change taxonomy, and to select BCTs knowingly.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in BMC Nutrition
Key words e-health, intervention, eating behaviour, behaviour change technique, social class, scoping review