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Health Promot Int. 2016 Dec;31(4):793-800. Epub 2015 Jun 30.

A 2-year young adult obesity prevention trial in the US: Process evaluation results.

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School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health and
School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health and.
Medical School, Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Our objective was to conduct a process evaluation of the CHOICES (Choosing Healthy Options in College Environments and Settings) study, a large, randomized, controlled trial designed to prevent unhealthy weight gain in young adults (aged 18-35) attending 2-year community colleges in the USA. The 24-month intervention consisted of participation in an academic course and a social networking and support website. Among intervention participants, completion rates for most course activities were >80%, reflecting a high level of dose received. Course retention and participant satisfaction were also high. Engagement results, however, were mixed with less than half of participants in the online and hybrid sections of the course reporting that they interacted with course materials ≥3 h/week, but 50-75% reporting that they completed required lessons 'all/very thoroughly'. Engagement in the website activities was also mixed with more than half of intervention participants logging onto the website during the first month, but then declining to 25-40% during the following 23 months of the intervention. Intervention engagement is a challenge of online interventions and a challenge of working with the young adult age group in general. Additional research is needed to explore strategies to support engagement among this population, particularly for relatively long intervention durations.


obesity prevention; process evaluation; young adulthood

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