EatWellNow: Formative Development of a Place-Based Behavioral “Nudge” Technology Intervention to Promote Healthier Food Purchases among Army Soldiers

Jared T. McGuirt, Alison Gustafson, Alice S. Ammerman, Mary Tucker-Mclaughlin, Basheerah Enahora, Courtney Moore, Danielle Dunnagan, Hannah Prentice-Dunn, Sheryl Bedno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 17% of military service members are obese. Research involving army soldiers suggests a lack of awareness of healthy foods on post. Innovative approaches are needed to change interactions with the military food environment. Two complementary technological methods to raise awareness are geofencing (deliver banner ads with website links) and Bluetooth beacons (real-time geotargeted messages to mobile phones that enter a designated space). There is little published literature regarding the feasibility of this approach to promote healthy behaviors in retail food environments. Thus, we conducted a formative feasibility study of a military post to understand the development, interest in, and implementation of EatWellNow, a multi-layered interactive food environment approach using contextual messaging to improve food purchasing decisions within the military food environment. We measured success based on outcomes of a formative evaluation, including process, resources, management, and scientific assessment. We also report data on interest in the approach from a Fort Bragg community health assessment survey (n = 3281). Most respondents agreed that they were interested in receiving push notifications on their phone about healthy options on post (64.5%) and that receiving these messages would help them eat healthier (68.3%). EatWellNow was successfully developed through cross-sector collaboration and was well received in this military environment, suggesting feasibility in this setting. Future work should examine the impact of EatWellNow on military service food purchases and dietary behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1458
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • beacons
  • digital technologies
  • food environment
  • geofencing
  • military

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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