Web-based tailored nutrition education: results of a randomized controlled trial

Health Educ Res. 2001 Dec;16(6):647-60. doi: 10.1093/her/16.6.647.


There is ample evidence that printed, computer-tailored nutrition education is a more effective tool for motivating people to change to healthier diets than general nutrition education. New technology is now providing more advanced ways of delivering tailored messages, e.g. via the World Wide Web (WWW). Before disseminating a tailored intervention via the web, it is important to investigate the potential of web-based tailored nutrition education. The present study investigated the immediate impact of web-based computer-tailored nutrition education on personal awareness and intentions related to intake of fat, fruit and vegetables. A randomized controlled trial, with a pre-test-post-test control group design was conducted. Significant differences in awareness and intention to change were found between the intervention and control group at post-test. The tailored intervention was appreciated better, was rated as more personally relevant, and had more subjective impact on opinion and intentions to change than the general nutrition information. Computer literacy had no effect on these ratings. The results indicate that interactive, web-based computer-tailored nutrition education can lead to changes in determinants of behavior. Future research should be aimed at longer-term (behavioral) effects and the practicability of distributing tailored interventions via the WWW.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Computer Literacy
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / instrumentation*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Education, Distance
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Netherlands
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats