In 2006 we published a review of the scientific evidence regarding computer-tailored health education to promote healthful nutrition an physical activity. A review update was necessary to document the more recent evidence from scientific research regarding the effectiveness of computer-tailored physical activity and nutrition education. The purpose of a new review study just published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine was to summarize the latest evidence on the effectiveness of computer-tailored physical activity and nutrition education, and to compare the results to the 2006 review.
Databases were searched for randomized controlled trials evaluating computer-tailored physical activity and nutrition education published from September 2004 through June 2011. Compared to the findings in 2006, a larger proportion of studies found positive effects for computer-tailored programs compared to generic or no health education, for nutrition as well as physical activity promotion. Effect sizes were, however, small and effects were generally only found at short- or medium-term follow-up, and evidence for effect were still mostly based on self-report measures of effects.
In conclusion, the results of the 2006 review were generally confirmed and reinforced; computer-tailored health education appears to be superior to generic or no health education.