Computer-tailored intervention may have positive effects on eating behaviors in adolescents

Published on November 8, 2011 at 7:01 AM · No Comments

A web-based computer-tailored intervention aiming to increase physical activity, decrease sedentary behavior, and promote healthy eating among adolescents was not associated with positive long-term outcome measures, but may have positive short-term effects on eating behaviors, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"The high prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents is a major public health concern because of its association with various chronic diseases," the authors write as background information in the article. "Computer tailoring has been recognized as a promising health communication technique to promote energy balance-related behaviors."

To evaluate short- and long-term effectiveness of a web-based computer-tailored intervention on preventing excessive weight gain in adolescents, Nicole P. M. Ezendam, Ph.D., then of Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, now of Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands, and colleagues developed the online school-based, FATaintPHAT intervention. The intervention included 20 schools in the Netherlands, and a total of 883 students ranging from 12 to 13 years of age. The main objectives of the intervention were to improve dietary behaviors (including reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and increasing intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains), reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity. Students not meeting behavioral guidelines at the start of the study were considered "at risk."

The FATaintPHAT intervention included eight modules that addressed issues of weight management and energy balance-behaviors. Each module contained information about the behavior-health link, an assessment of behavior, individually tailored feedback on the behavior and an option to formulate an implementation intention to prompt specific goal setting and action planning.

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