Does usage of an e-health intervention reduce the risk of excessive gestational weight gain? A secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial

This article was published January 2017 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

This article was written by: Meredith L. Graham, Myla Strawderman, Margaret M. Demment, and Christine M. Olson.

Here is the abstract for this article:

BACKGROUND:
Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) contributes to the development of obesity in mother and child. Internet-based interventions have the potential for delivering innovative and interactive options for prevention of excessive GWG to large numbers of people.

OBJECTIVE:
The objective of this study was to create a novel measure of Internet-based intervention usage patterns and examine whether usage of an Internet-based intervention is associated with reduced risk of excessive GWG.

METHODS:
The website featured blogs, local resources, articles, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and events that were available to women in both the intervention and control arm. Weekly reminders to use the website and to highlight new content were emailed to participants in both arms. Only intervention arm participants had access to the weight gain tracker and diet and physical activity goal-setting tools. A total of 1335 (898 intervention and 437 control) relatively diverse and healthy pregnant women were randomly assigned to the intervention arm or control arm. Usage patterns were examined for both intervention and control arm participants using latent class analysis. Regression analyses were used to estimate the association between usage patterns and three GWG outcomes: excessive total GWG, excessive GWG rate, and GWG.

RESULTS:
Five usage patterns best characterized the usage of the intervention by intervention arm participants. Three usage patterns best characterized control arm participants’ usage. Control arm usage patterns were not associated with excessive GWG, whereas intervention arm usage patterns were associated with excessive GWG.

CONCLUSIONS:
The control and intervention arm usage pattern characterization is a unique methodological contribution to process evaluations for self-directed Internet-based interventions. In the intervention arm some usage patterns were associated with GWG outcomes.