Exploring the reach and program use of Hello World, an email-based health promotion program for pregnant women in the Netherlands

J.M. van Dongen, M.N.M. van Poppel, I.E.J. Milder, H.A.M. van Oers, J. Brug

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Abstract

Background: In 2006, the Dutch government initiated Hello World, an email-based program promoting healthy lifestyles among pregnant women through quizzes with pregnancy-related questions. In 2008, an updated version was released. The present study aimed to (1) examine the reach of Hello World and the representativeness of its users for all pregnant women in the Netherlands, (2) explore the relationship between program engagement and lifestyle characteristics, and (3) explore the relationship between the program content participants accessed (content on smoking, physical activity, and nutrition) and their lifestyle characteristics. Methods. Data from 4,363 pregnant women were included. After registration, women received an online questionnaire with demographic and lifestyle questions. To evaluate their representativeness, their demographic characteristics were compared with existing data for Dutch (pregnant) women. Women were classified on the following lifestyle characteristics: smoking, nutrition, physical activity, and pre-pregnancy weight status. Program use was tracked and the relationships between lifestyle characteristics, program engagement, and the percentage of smoking, physical activity, and nutrition questions accessed after opening a quiz were explored using Mann-Whitney U tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Results: Hello World reached 4% of its target population. Ten percent of participants were low educated and 22% immigrants. On average, women received 6.1 (SD:2.8) quiz emails and opened 32% of the associated quizzes (2.0, SD:2.1). A significant positive association was found between the number of quizzes opened and the number of healthy lifestyle characteristics. After opening a quiz, women accessed most smoking, nutrition, and physical activity questions. Significant relationships were found between several lifestyle characteristics and the percentage of smoking, physical activity, and nutrition questions accessed. However, between-group differences were small, quiz topics were largely unrelated to their lifestyle characteristics, and inconsistencies were found regarding the directions of these associations. Conclusions: Hello World reached 4% of its target population, which is lower than the reach of its previous version (8%). Relatively few low educated and immigrant women registered for the program. Active participation in the program was positively associated with the number of healthy behaviours participants engaged in. The program content participants chose to access was largely unrelated to their lifestyle characteristics. © 2012 van Dongen et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number514
JournalBMC Research Notes
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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