The development of a family-based wearable intervention using behaviour change and co-design approaches: move and connect

Publication authors

A.V. Creaser, D.D. Bingham, H.A.J. Bennett, S. Costa, S.A. Clemes



Previous research has explored the effectiveness of wearable activity trackers (wearables) for increasing child physical activity (PA) levels, but there have been mixed results. The use of theoretical frameworks and co-design techniques are recognised ways of increasing an intervention’s acceptability and effectiveness.


This study aims to use co-design workshops and an evidence-based theoretical framework (the Behaviour Change Wheel) to develop a family-based PA intervention using wearables.


Three stages of intervention development outlined by the Behaviour Change Wheel were used. Co-design workshops with seven families (11 parents and 12 children) and seven PA experts were conducted where stakeholders discussed how to overcome previously identified barriers to families being active and using wearables. This resulted in the intervention’s components being developed, with each component’s mechanisms of action (e.g. intervention functions and behaviour change techniques) being retrospectively identified.


The ‘Move & Connect’ intervention was developed, which targets family PA and wearable use. The intervention takes a flexible approach and includes eight components, including wearable devices (Fitbit Alta HR), support resources, an introductory workshop, collective challenges, goal setting and reviewing, engagement prompts, social support and health-related resources (e.g. educational videos). The intervention incorporates six intervention functions targeting PA and wearable use: education, training, modelling, persuasion, incentivisation and environmental restructuring and 24 behaviour change techniques, including goal setting, social comparison, feedback on behaviour and graded task.


This is the first known study to use an evidence-based framework and co-design to develop a family-based wearable intervention. The identification of the intervention’s mechanisms of action will prove useful when implementing and evaluating the ‘Move & Connect’ intervention and allow researchers to replicate its components.