BACKGROUND: Initiating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle -including healthy eating and sufficient physical activity- is key for cardiometabolic health. A health-promoting environment can facilitate a healthy lifestyle, and may be especially helpful to reach individuals with a lower socio-economic status (SES). In the Supreme Nudge project, we will study the effects of pricing and nudging strategies in the supermarket - one of the most important point-of-choice settings for food choices - and of a context-specific mobile physical activity promotion app. This paper describes the stepwise and theory-based design of Supreme Nudge, which aims to develop, implement and evaluate environmental changes for a sustained impact on lifestyle behaviours and cardiometabolic health in low SES adults.
METHODS: Supreme Nudge uses a multi-disciplinary and mixed methods approach, integrating participatory action research, qualitative interviews, experimental pilot studies, and a randomized controlled trial in a real-life (supermarket) setting. First, we will identify the needs, characteristics and preferences of the target group as well as of the participating supermarket chain. Second, we will conduct a series of pilot studies to test novel, promising and feasible intervention components. Third, a final selection of intervention components will be implemented in a full-scale randomised controlled supermarket trial. Approximately 1000 low SES adults will be recruited across 8-12 supermarkets and randomised at supermarket level to receive 1) no intervention (control); 2) environmental nudges such as food product placement or promotion; 3) nudges and a tailored physical activity app that provides time- and context specific feedback; 4) pricing interventions, nudges, and the physical activity app. The effects on dietary behaviours and physical activity will be evaluated at 3, 6 and 12 months, and on cardiometabolic health at 6 and 12 months. Finally, we will evaluate the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) of the intervention, and we will use insights from System Innovation and Transition Management theories to define the best strategies for implementation and upscaling beyond the study period.
DISCUSSION: The Supreme Nudge project is likely to generate thorough evidence relevant for policy and practice on the effects of a mixed method and multi-disciplinary intervention targeting dietary behaviours and physical activity.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The real-life trial has been registered on 30 May 2018, NTR7302 .