Development of a behaviour change workplace-based intervention to improve nurses’ eating and physical activity

Brian T. Power* (Corresponding Author), Kirsty Kiezebrink, Julia L. Allan, Marion K. Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


There is a critical need for an intervention to improve nurses’ eating and physical activity behaviours. As nurses spend a substantial proportion of their waking hours at work, concerted efforts to deliver such interventions in the workplace is growing. This study formed part of a multiphase programme of research that aimed to systematically develop an evidence-based and theory-informed workplace intervention to promote changes in eating and physical activity among nurses.
The intervention was developed iteratively, in line with Medical Research Council complex intervention guidelines. It involved four activities: (1) identifying the evidence base, (2) understanding the determinants of nurses’ eating and physical activity behaviour change through theory-based qualitative interviews and survey, (3) identifying intervention options using the Behaviour Change Wheel, and (4) specifying intervention content and implementation options using a taxonomy of behaviour change techniques.

Data from 13 randomised controlled trials indicated that workplace-based behaviour change interventions targeted to this population are effective in changing behaviour. The evidence base was, however, limited in quantity and quality. Nurses’ beliefs about important factors determining their eating and physical activity behaviour were identified across 16 qualitative interviews and 245 survey responses, and key determinants included environmental context and resources, behavioural regulation, emotion, beliefs about consequences, knowledge and optimism. Based on these findings, 22 behaviour change techniques suitable for targeting the identified determinants were identified and combined into a potential workplace intervention.

An evidence-based and theory-informed intervention tailored to the target population and setting has been explicitly conceptualised using a systematic approach. The proposed intervention addresses previous evidence gaps for the user population of nurses. Further to this, such an intervention, if implemented, has the potential to impact nurses’ eating and physical activity behaviours and in turn, the health of nurses and the quality of healthcare delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Number of pages14
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank all the nurses who gave their time to participate in the workplace intervention development steps. The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The views expressed are those of the authors alone.
This work was funded through a Medical Research Council doctoral training award.


  • Programme
  • Behavioural interventions
  • Behaviour change
  • Nurses
  • Physical activity
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Healthcare professionals


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