Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Wednesday, July 01, 2020 at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?


Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Oct 6, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 6, 2020 - Dec 1, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Using the Intervention Mapping Protocol to Develop an App-Based Parenting Program to Promote Healthy Energy Balance-Related Parenting Practices

  • Levie T Karssen; 
  • Jacqueline M Vink; 
  • Carolina de Weerth; 
  • Roel CJ Hermans; 
  • Carina PM de Kort; 
  • Stef PJ Kremers; 
  • Emilie LM Ruiter; 
  • Junilla K Larsen



The family environment plays an important role in the development of children’s energy-balance related behaviors (EBRBs). As a result, parents’ energy-balance parenting practices (EBRPPs) are eminent targets of preventive childhood obesity programs. Families with a lower socioeconomic position (SEP) may benefit from participating in such programs, but are generally less well reached than families with a higher SEP.


This study describes the application of the Intervention Mapping Protocol (IMP) for the development of an app-based preventive intervention program to promote healthy EBRPPs among parents of children (0-4 years old) with a lower SEP.


The six steps of the IMP were used as a theory- and evidence-based framework to guide the development of the app-based preventive intervention program.


In Step 1, behavioral outcomes for the app-based program (ie, children have a healthy dietary intake, sufficient sleep, and restricted screen time/sufficient physical activity) and socio-cognitive (ie, knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy) and automatic (ie, habitual behaviors) determinants of energy-balance related parenting were identified through a needs assessment. In Step 2, the behavioral outcomes were translated into performance objectives. To influence these objectives, in Step 3 theory-based intervention methods were selected for each of the determinants. In Step 4, the knowledge derived from the previous steps allowed for the development of the app-based program Samen Happie! through a process of continuous co-creation with parents and health professionals. In Step 5, community health services were identified as potential adopters for the app. Lastly, in Step 6, two (randomized controlled) trials were designed to evaluate the process and effects of the app among Dutch parents of infants (Trial 1) and preschoolers (Trial 2). These trials were completed in November 2019 (Trial 1) and February 2020 (Trial 2).


The IMP allowed for effective development of the app-based parenting program Samen Happie! to promote healthy EBRPPs among parents of infants and preschoolers. Through the integration of theory, empirical evidence, and data from the target population, as well as the process of continued co-creation, the program specifically addresses parents with a lower SEP. This increases the potential of the program to prevent the development of obesity in early childhood among families with a lower SEP in particular. Clinical Trial: Netherlands Trial Register (NTR) NL6727; Netherlands Trial Register (NTR) NL7371;


Please cite as:

Karssen LT, Vink JM, de Weerth C, Hermans RC, de Kort CP, Kremers SP, Ruiter EL, Larsen JK

Using the Intervention Mapping Protocol to Develop an App-Based Parenting Program to Promote Healthy Energy Balance-Related Parenting Practices

JMIR Preprints. 06/10/2020:24802

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.24802


Download PDF

Request queued. Please wait while the file is being generated. It may take some time.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.