Characteristics of effective Internet-mediated interventions to change lifestyle in people aged 50 and older: a systematic review

Ageing Res Rev. 2011 Sep;10(4):487-97. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2011.05.001. Epub 2011 May 20.


Worldwide, the number of people aged 60 years and older steadily grows to a predicted 2 billion in 2050. Online interventions increasingly target lifestyle risk factors to promote healthy aging. The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate whether Internet mediated lifestyle interventions can successfully change lifestyle in people aged 50 and older. A PubMed search was conducted resulting in twelve articles, based on ten studies. The studies focused on physical activity, weight loss, nutrition, and diabetes. Nine studies used feasible interventions, with an average small to moderate effect size. The most important result is that there are multiple studies reporting positive lifestyle changes in an older population. On average, complex interventions, whether they present tailored or generic information, and online or offline comparison, are more effective than interventions with only one component. Internet mediated interventions hold great potential in implementing effective lifestyle programs, capable of reaching large populations of older persons at very low costs.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Internet* / statistics & numerical data
  • Internet* / trends
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology