Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Internet and health education: unfulfilled promises?

The introduction and growth of the WWW has enabled swift and inexpensive distribution of nutrition education expertise and materials. Furthermore, the WWW has also been used for tailoring nutrition education to personal characteristics of the user. With the growing availability and opportunities of mobile Internet, web-based tailored nutrition education can be provided when and where it is most useful or appropriate. However, two important challenges for web-based nutrition education interventions are to realise sufficient exposure and to ensure sufficient source reliability and credibility. Only few studies have investigated the effects of web-based computer-tailored nutrition education, with some promising but mixed results.
Two recent studies by Willemieke Kroeze et al. shed further light on the potential of web-based tailored nutrition education. Her studies published in the Journal or Nutrition Education and Behavior ( and the Journal of Medical Internet Research ( suggest that an electronic, interactive web-based version of a nutrition education program that provides users with individually tailored feedback and advice to reduce saturated fat intake was as effective as the original print version of the program ( However, the print version was used and saved more often and was rated as somewhat more personally relevant (