A roadmap for intervention design to reduce provision of unhealthy snacks to children: A behavioural diagnosis using the Behaviour Change Wheel
Objective: Parental provision is an important intervention target to reduce children’s unhealthy snack intake. Excess unhealthy snack consumption is a complex issue, requiring strategies across levels within the socio-ecological model. We aimed to undertake an in-depth behavioural diagnosis to identify theoretically grounded, evidenced-informed intervention strategies to reduce parental provision of unhealthy snacks to their children.
Design: This study synthesised existing evidence by the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation and Behaviour model. The Behaviour Change Wheel intervention development process guided the identification of intervention strategies that could be implemented in different levels of the socio-ecological model. The design focussed on gaps in the use of behaviour change approaches in past interventions.
Results: Reducing purchasing of unhealthy snacks was selected as the behavioural target. Thirteen intervention strategies were identified that address parents’ psychological capability, physical and social opportunity, and reflective and automatic motivation to limit purchasing of unhealthy snack foods. Strategies selected could be implemented within government/society (5 strategies), food supply (3), community (3) or home settings (2). Common intervention functions selected included environmental restructuring, persuasion, enablement, coercion and education. Communication/marketing, guidelines, legislation, and environmental/social planning were the policy categories selected. Strategies could include up to 38 unique Behaviour Change Techniques, most commonly from the hierarchical clusters of antecedents and natural consequences.
Conclusions: Our study provides a roadmap for future intervention research to influence and reduce parents’ provision of unhealthy snacks, as one approach to increase children’s diet quality. Proposed strategies can be refined and prioritised through stakeholder consultation and feasibility testing.