Development of "LvL UP 1.0": a smartphone-based, conversational agent-delivered holistic lifestyle intervention for the prevention of non-communicable diseases and common mental disorders
Frontiers in digital health
behaviour change; chatbot; cognitive behavioural therapy; depression; diabetes; health programme; mHealth
BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and common mental disorders (CMDs) are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Lifestyle interventions mobile apps and conversational agents present themselves as low-cost, scalable solutions to prevent these conditions. This paper describes the rationale for, and development of, "LvL UP 1.0″, a smartphone-based lifestyle intervention aimed at preventing NCDs and CMDs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A multidisciplinary team led the intervention design process of LvL UP 1.0, involving four phases: (i) preliminary research (stakeholder consultations, systematic market reviews), (ii) selecting intervention components and developing the conceptual model, (iii) whiteboarding and prototype design, and (iv) testing and refinement. The Multiphase Optimization Strategy and the UK Medical Research Council framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions were used to guide the intervention development. RESULTS: Preliminary research highlighted the importance of targeting holistic wellbeing (i.e., both physical and mental health). Accordingly, the first version of LvL UP features a scalable, smartphone-based, and conversational agent-delivered holistic lifestyle intervention built around three pillars: Move More (physical activity), Eat Well (nutrition and healthy eating), and Stress Less (emotional regulation and wellbeing). Intervention components include health literacy and psychoeducational coaching sessions, daily "Life Hacks" (healthy activity suggestions), breathing exercises, and journaling. In addition to the intervention components, formative research also stressed the need to introduce engagement-specific components to maximise uptake and long-term use. LvL UP includes a motivational interviewing and storytelling approach to deliver the coaching sessions, as well as progress feedback and gamification. Offline materials are also offered to allow users access to essential intervention content without needing a mobile device. CONCLUSIONS: The development process of LvL UP 1.0 led to an evidence-based and user-informed smartphone-based intervention aimed at preventing NCDs and CMDs. LvL UP is designed to be a scalable, engaging, prevention-oriented, holistic intervention for adults at risk of NCDs and CMDs. A feasibility study, and subsequent optimisation and randomised-controlled trials are planned to further refine the intervention and establish effectiveness. The development process described here may prove helpful to other intervention developers.
Castro, Oscar; Mair, Jacqueline Louise; Salamanca-Sanabria, Alicia; Alattas, Aishah; Keller, Roman; Zheng, Shenglin; Jabir, Ahmad; Lin, Xiaowen; Frese, Bea Franziska; Lim, Chang Siang; Santhanam, Prabhakaran; van Dam, Rob M.; Car, Josip; Lee, Jimmy; Tai, E Shyong; Fleisch, Elgar; von Wangenheim, Florian; Tudor Car, Lorainne; Müller-Riemenschneider, Falk; and Kowatsch, Tobias, "Development of "LvL UP 1.0": a smartphone-based, conversational agent-delivered holistic lifestyle intervention for the prevention of non-communicable diseases and common mental disorders" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 2923.
Exercise and Nutrition Sciences