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Measuring effects of web-based, tailored health interventions programs for nutrition and physical activity on clinical outcomes: A systemic review

Jung A Lee and Mia Liza Lustria

(Submission #56)


Abstract

Current research in health communication and education has identified the benefits of matching health messages to relevant characteristics of individuals, potentially boosting the effects of these messages on the targeted health behaviors (Lustria, Cortese, Noar, & Glueckauf, 2009; Noar, Benac, & Harris, 2007). Tailored health interventions employ a “combination of information and behavior change strategies that are unique to that person, related to the outcome of interest and derived from an individual assessment” (Kreuter, Farrell, Olevitch, & Brennan, 2000). Advances in information and communication technologies have facilitated tailoring through the use of sophisticated computer algorithms, allowing the creation of highly individualized messages that can address each individual’s unique needs, motivations and beliefs related to the health behaviors being targeted. The individual tailoring of health information theoretically improves the relevance of the information presented and thus generates greater desired changes in response to the message (Kreuter & Wray, 2003). Web delivery combined with computer tailoring, has become a common approach for providing primary prevention interventions for nutrition and physical activity. A number of studies of web-based health interventions for nutrition and physical activity have reported positive health behavior changes based on psychosocial determinants of behavior but have rarely reported effects of these programs on clinical outcomes (Hageman, Walker, & Pullen, 2005; Hurling et al., 2007; Kroeze, Werkman, & Brug, 2006; Marcus, Lewis, Williams, Dunsiger et al., 2007; Marcus, Lewis, Williams, Whiteley et al., 2007; Norman et al., 2007). This study reports on the measurement of clinical outcomes within current web-based, tailored health intervention programs for nutrition and physical activity and suggests how to potentially improve the efficacy of these using a biopsychosocial approach.


  
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