Applying the Intervention Mapping protocol to develop a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention to increase European preschool children's physical activity levels: The ToyBox-study

M. De Craemer, E. De Decker, I. De Bourdeaudhuij, M. Verloigne, K. Duvinage, B. Koletzko, S. Ibrügger, S. Kreichauf, E. Grammatikaki, L. Moreno, V. Iotova, P. Socha, K. Szott, Y. Manios, G. Cardon, Odysseas Androutsos, Christina Katsarou, Eftychia Apostolidou, Eirini Efstathopoulou, Angelika StraußBirgit Herbert, Julia Birnbaum, Annette Payr, Christine Geyer, Lieven Annemans, Stefaan De Henauw, Lea Maes, Carine Vereecken, Jo Van Assche, Lore Pil, Mai Chin A. Paw, Saskia te Velde, Theodora Mouratidou, Juan Fernandez, Maribel Mesana, Pilar De Miguel-Etayo, Esther M. González-Gil, Luis Gracia-Marco, Beatriz Oves, Agneta Yngve, Susanna Kugelberg, Christel Lynch, Annhild Mosdøl, Bente B. Nilsen B., Carolyn Summerbell, Helen Moore, Wayne Douthwaite, Catherine Nixon, Andreas Wildgruber, Zbigniew Kulaga, Kamila Zych, Magdalena Góźdź, Beata Gurzkowska, Mina Lateva, Natalya Usheva, Sonya Galcheva, Vanya Marinova, Zhaneta Radkova, Nevyana Feschieva, Tim Lobstein, Andrea Aikenhead, Goof Buijs, Annemiek Dorgelo, Aviva Nethe, Jan Jansen, Otto Gmeiner, Jutta Retterath, Julia Wildeis, Axel Günthersberger, Leigh Gibson, Claus Voegele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Although sufficient physical activity is beneficial for preschoolers' health, activity levels in most preschoolers are low. As preschoolers spend a considerable amount of time at home and at kindergarten, interventions should target both environments to increase their activity levels. The aim of the current paper was to describe the six different steps of the Intervention Mapping protocol towards the systematic development and implementation of the physical activity component of the ToyBox-intervention. This intervention is a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention implemented across six European countries. Based on the results of literature reviews and focus groups with parents/caregivers and kindergarten teachers, matrices of change objectives were created. Then, theory-based methods and practical strategies were selected to develop intervention materials at three different levels: (i) individual level (preschoolers); (ii) interpersonal level (parents/caregivers) and (iii) organizational level (teachers). This resulted in a standardized intervention with room for local and cultural adaptations in each participating country. Although the Intervention Mapping protocol is a time-consuming process, using this systematic approach may lead to an increase in intervention effectiveness. The presented matrices of change objectives are useful for future programme planners to develop and implement an intervention based on the Intervention Mapping protocol to increase physical activity levels in preschoolers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue numberSUPPL.3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Intervention Mapping protocol
  • Physical activity
  • Preschool child

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