Adaptation and study protocol of the evidence-based Make Better Choices (MBC2) multiple diet and activity change intervention for a rural Appalachian population

Nancy E. Schoenberg*, Deanna Sherman, Angela Fidler Pfammatter, Michelle K. Roberts, Ming Yuan Chih, Sarah C. Vos, Bonnie Spring

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Rural Appalachian residents experience among the highest prevalence of chronic disease, premature mortality, and decreased life expectancy in the nation. Addressing these growing inequities while avoiding duplicating existing programming necessitates the development of appropriate adaptations of evidence-based lifestyle interventions. Yet few published articles explicate how to accomplish such contextual and cultural adaptation. Methods: In this paper, we describe the process of adapting the Make Better Choices 2 (MBC2) mHealth diet and activity randomized trial and the revised protocol for intervention implementation in rural Appalachia. Deploying the NIH’s Cultural Framework on Health and Aaron’s Adaptation framework, the iterative adaptation process included convening focus groups (N = 4, 38 participants), conducting key informant interviews (N = 16), verifying findings with our Community Advisory Board (N = 9), and deploying usability surveys (N = 8), wireframing (N = 8), and pilot testing (N = 9. This intense process resulted in a comprehensive revision of recruitment, retention, assessment, and intervention components. For the main trial, 350 participants will be randomized to receive either the multicomponent MBC2 diet and activity intervention or an active control condition (stress and sleep management). The main outcome is a composite score of four behavioral outcomes: two outcomes related to diet (increased fruits and vegetables and decreased saturated fat intake) and two related to activity (increased moderate vigorous physical activity [MVPA] and decreased time spent on sedentary activities). Secondary outcomes include change in biomarkers, including blood pressure, lipids, A1C, waist circumference, and BMI. Discussion: Adaptation and implementation of evidence-based interventions is necessary to ensure efficacious contextually and culturally appropriate health services and programs, particularly for underserved and vulnerable populations. This article describes the development process of an adapted, community-embedded health intervention and the final protocol created to improve health behavior and, ultimately, advance health equity. Trial registration: Identifier NCT04309461. The trial was registered on 6/3/2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2043
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Mobile phone
  • Rural populations
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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