ProLifestyle: Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Among Adolescents via Health Literacy-related Digital Support


To be completed


Project Background

Based on the results of the first funding period, we can conclude that there is a gap in health-related online services capable of addressing the needs of adolescents regarding health information. The most common problems are that web content does not use plain language, is too complex and culturally inappropriate, and does not address the interests of adolescents. Ultimately, the analysed webpages fail to attract adolescents and to help them access digital health content. Another challenging aspect is that the needs of certain minority groups are not being taken into account, which points out to a significant dilemma in adequate prevention measures for this group. However, the findings suggest that the need for adolescent-appropriate web-based health content meets the ehealth literacy needs of the target group. Therefore, in the second funding period, the overall objective of the follow-up project ProLifestyle is to develop three interactive platforms to improve ehealth literacy of adolescents through digital solutions: (1) an educational interactive healthy lifestyle web site tailored to adolescents, including (2) a YouTube Channel with healthy lifestyle video blogs (vlogs), and (3) an interactive healthy lifestyle smartphone and tablet app. The specific goals of the subproject are:

  • to develop and test digital solutions promoting ehealth literacy in adolescents
  • to foster health communication and improve ehealth literacy skills in the context of health information
  • to provide three target group-specific ehealth literacy intervention types: web-based, video-based and app-based.

The project will respond to the poor availability of ehealth literacy interventions to promote youth health. The aims reflect the overarching consortium goals to close the gap between research (theory) and services (practice). This subproject will cooperate with Diane Levin Zamir, who is member of the SAB and affiliated with the University of Haifa and Clalit Health Services in Israel. The partner will provide her vast experience in developing digital health offers for adolescents. At the beginning of the project, we plan a research visit to Tel Aviv, Israel for four weeks to conduct expert interviews with digital health professionals working at Clalit Health Services. This will allow for adapting methods, measures, interventions, and approaches for developing digital health literacy interventions.

For the interactive website, we will use the software WordPress, which includes email and live chat support, various design options, an option to embed videos, search engine optimization (SEO) tools and the integration of Google analytics to capture statistics. The website will be linked to social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In the initial phase of the project, a training session on WordPress is planned for the researchers. In cooperation with other experts from the University of Education Freiburg, we will create a YouTube Channel connected to the interactive website. Together with our partners, we will continuously produce video blogs (vlogs) about selected health topics, e.g. healthy cooking, physical activity and information on physical exercises or sexual education. We plan to develop an interactive app for smartphones comprising health quizzes and serious games elements to increase health literacy. This app will be connected with the WordPress webpage and also with the social media platforms. For the technical development of the app, external experts (Research and Development company) will be contracted.

Adolescents will be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the interventions. This will allow them to add topics and perspectives to the intervention that are relevant for them. We plan to conduct focus groups and qualitative pilot testing (think aloud technique) with the target group. All three approaches (web, YouTube, app) will be evaluated, and we will revise our platforms continuously and adapt them to the needs articulated by adolescents. Furthermore, we will connect with the target group via the comment function and social media in order to analyse the acceptability and to collect background information on the uptake. The contents to be developed will be based on lessons learned from the first funding period in order to develop health-related online content appropriate for the target group. In addition, we will adhere to best practices provided by the European Union for developing digital health literacy solutions.

Elias Sahrai
University of Education Freiburg
Prof. Dr. Uwe Bittlingmayer
University of Education Freiburg