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1.  Nationwide Implementation of Hello World: A Dutch Email-Based Health Promotion Program for Pregnant Women 
In November 2006, an email-based health promotion program for pregnant women was implemented nationally in the Netherlands. The program consisted of emails containing quizzes with pregnancy-related questions tailored to the number of weeks of pregnancy. Emails were sent out once every 4 weeks, up to a maximum of nine emails.
The aims of the study were (1) to assess the recruitment of participants and their representativeness of the Dutch population and (2) to study differences in recruitment, program use, and program appreciation among women with different levels of education.
Data from 13,946 pregnant women who enrolled during the first year of the program were included. Upon registration, participants were asked how they found out about the program and subsequently received an email questionnaire to assess demographic, lifestyle, and Internet characteristics. Program use was tracked, and participants were classified into five user groups (inactive to very active). Program appreciation (low, intermediate, and high) was assessed twice with an email questionnaire that was sent after the woman had received her third and sixth quiz email. Information about pregnant women and their characteristics was obtained from Dutch registries to assess representativeness of the study population.
About 8% of the pregnant women in the Netherlands enrolled in the program. Immigrants were underrepresented, and women with a low level of education seemed to be slightly underrepresented. Most women knew about the program from a promotional email sent by the organization (32%), followed by the Internet (22%) and midwives (16%). Women with little education were more often inactive users of the program than were highly educated women (15% vs 11%, P < .001), whereas highly educated women were more often very active users compared with women with little education (25% vs 20%, P< .001). However, women with less education were more likely than women with more education to have a high appreciation of the program after receiving three quiz emails (52% vs 44%, P = .001).
In this real-life setting, pregnant women can be reached through an email-based health promotion program. Selective engagement by education level remains a challenge.
PMCID: PMC2763403  PMID: 19674957
Health promotion; Internet; pregnancy; email
2.  Behavior change in a lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes prevention in Dutch primary care: opportunities for intervention content 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:78.
Despite the favorable effects of behavior change interventions on diabetes risk, lifestyle modification is a complicated process. In this study we therefore investigated opportunities for refining a lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes prevention, based on participant perceptions of behavior change progress.
A 30 month intervention was performed in Dutch primary care among high-risk individuals (FINDRISC-score ≥ 13) and was compared to usual care. Participant perceptions of behavior change progress for losing weight, dietary modification, and increasing physical activity were assessed after18 months with questionnaires. Based on the response, participants were categorized as ‘planners’, ‘initiators’ or ‘achievers’ and frequencies were evaluated in both study groups. Furthermore, participants reported on barriers for lifestyle change.
In both groups, around 80% of all participants (intervention: N = 370; usual care: N = 322) planned change. Except for reducing fat intake (p = 0.08), the number of initiators was significantly higher in the intervention group than in usual care. The percentage of achievers was high for the dietary and exercise objectives (intervention: 81–95%; usual care: 83–93%), but was lower for losing weight (intervention: 67%; usual care: 62%). Important motivational barriers were ‘I already meet the standards’ and ‘I’m satisfied with my current behavior’. Temptation to snack, product taste and lack of time were important volitional barriers.
The results suggest that the intervention supports participants to bridge the gap between motivation and action. Several opportunities for intervention refinement are however revealed, including more stringent criteria for participant inclusion, tools for (self)-monitoring of health, emphasis on the ‘small-step-approach’, and more attention for stimulus control.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register: NTR1082
PMCID: PMC3706294  PMID: 23758998
Type 2 diabetes; Primary care; Behavior change; Lifestyle intervention
3.  Exploring the reach and program use of hello world, an email-based health promotion program for pregnant women in the Netherlands 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:514.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3500255  PMID: 22999052
Pregnancy; Health promotion; Internet; Reach; Program engagement
4.  Implementation of a lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes prevention in Dutch primary care: opportunities for intervention delivery 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:79.
As in clinical practice resources may be limited compared to experimental settings, translation of evidence-based lifestyle interventions into daily life settings is challenging. In this study we therefore evaluated the implementation of the APHRODITE lifestyle intervention for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in Dutch primary care. Based on this evaluation we discuss opportunities for refining intervention delivery.
A 2.5-year intervention was performed in 14 general practices in the Netherlands among individuals at high risk for type 2 diabetes (FINDRISC-score ≥ 13) (n = 479) and was compared to usual care (n = 446). Intervention consisted of individual lifestyle counselling by nurse practitioners (n = 24) and GPs (n = 48) and group-consultations. Drop-out and attendance were registered during the programme. After the intervention, satisfaction with the programme and perceived implementation barriers were assessed with questionnaires.
Drop-out was modest (intervention: 14.6 %; usual care: 13.2 %) and attendance at individual consultations was high (intervention: 80-97 %; usual care: 86-94 %). Providers were confident about diabetes prevention by lifestyle intervention in primary care. Participants were more satisfied with counselling from nurse practitioners than from GPs. A major part of the GPs reported low self-efficacy regarding dietary guidance. Lack of counselling time (60 %), participant motivation (12 %), and financial reimbursement (11 %) were regarded by providers as important barriers for intervention implementation.
High participant compliance and a positive attitude of providers make primary care a suitable setting for diabetes prevention by lifestyle counselling. Results support a role for the nurse practitioner as the key player in guiding lifestyle modification. Further research is needed on strategies that could increase cost-effectiveness, such as more stringent criteria for participant inclusion, group-counselling, more tailor-made counselling and integration of screening and / or interventions for different disorders.
PMCID: PMC3457845  PMID: 22873753
Type 2 diabetes; Primary care; Lifestyle intervention; Implementation
5.  Lifestyle counseling in hypertension-related visits – analysis of video-taped general practice visits 
BMC Family Practice  2008;9:58.
The general practitioner (GP) can play an important role in promoting a healthy lifestyle, which is especially relevant in people with an elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases due to hypertension. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the frequency and content of lifestyle counseling about weight loss, nutrition, physical activity, and smoking by GPs in hypertension-related visits. A distinction was made between the assessment of lifestyle (gathering information or measuring weight or waist circumference) and giving lifestyle advice (giving a specific advice to change the patient's behavior or referring the patient to other sources of information or other health professionals).
For this study, we observed 212 video recordings of hypertension-related visits collected within the Second Dutch National Survey of General Practice in 2000/2001.
The mean duration of visits was 9.8 minutes (range 2.5 to 30 minutes). In 40% of the visits lifestyle was discussed (n = 84), but in 81% of these visits this discussion lasted shorter than a quarter of the visit. An assessment of lifestyle was made in 77 visits (36%), most commonly regarding body weight and nutrition. In most cases the patient initiated the discussion about nutrition and physical activity, whereas the assessment of weight and smoking status was mostly initiated by the GP. In 35 visits (17%) the GP gave lifestyle advice, but in only one fifth of these visits the patient's motivation or perceived barriers for changing behavior were assessed. Supporting factors were not discussed at all.
In 40% of the hypertension-related visits lifestyle topics were discussed. However, both the frequency and quality of lifestyle advice can be improved.
PMCID: PMC2577675  PMID: 18854020

Results 1-5 (5)