Do pregnant women with overweight and obesity find a nutrition and exercise intervention with smartphone app support acceptable? Findings from the PEARs randomised control trial

Type Article

Journal Article


E. M. Greene; K. M. Ainscough; M. A. Kennelly; E. C. O'Brien; F. M. McAuliffe; A. Geraghty

Year of publication










Background Dietary interventions can improve pregnancy outcomes among women with overweight and obesity. Furthermore, interest in mobile‐health technology is growing but little is known about its acceptability among such a cohort. We aimed to assess the acceptability of the PEARs study (Pregnancy Exercise And nutrition Research Study with smartphone app support). Design Randomised control trial of a low glycaemic index dietary intervention with exercise prescription and smartphone app, delivered to pregnant women with overweight and obesity, in Dublin, Ireland (March 2013‐August 2016). Methods Women in the intervention group completed an acceptability questionnaire at 28 weeks of gestation (n = 149). Maternal characteristics were recorded (age, ethnicity, body mass index, socio‐economic status). Level of acceptability of the intervention was analysed using T‐tests and chi‐square analysis. Results The intervention was generally accepted, with respondents agreeing that the diet was easy‐to‐follow (68.5%), enjoyable (74.1%), affordable (76.9%) and accepted by family (68.5%). Women were more likely to comply with the diet than the exercise aspect of the intervention (67.8% versus 45.3%). Those who agreed that the diet was affordable were older (33.4 versus 31.5 years, P = 0.03). Women who agreed that the diet was easyto‐ follow had a lower neighbourhood affluence score (4.5 versus 8.6 index score, P = 0.042). Compared to those with tertiary education, those with lower education were more likely to agree that it was enjoyable (64.0 versus 88.9%, P = 0.002). Conclusion Overall, the PEARs intervention was acceptable. Acceptability varied by maternal characteristics, suggesting that future interventions may need to be tailored to specific subgroups of pregnant women.