To investigate the feasibility and impact of the Food-O-Meter, an Internet-based computer-tailored nutrition intervention in adolescents.
Participants in the intervention condition received the computer-tailored advice at baseline and at 1 month, those in the control condition received standardised advice. Effects were evaluated at 1 month (n 621) and at 3 months (n 558) using multi-level modelling.
Secondary schools in six European cities. Adolescents accessed the intervention in the school computer room under the supervision of teachers.
Classes with students aged 12-17 years in the schools participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) cross-sectional study were randomised into intervention and control schools.
In most participating centres the intervention was feasible and generally well appreciated, especially by girls. Technical problems and lack of motivation of the teachers hindered implementation in some centres. Overweight adolescents had higher scores for reading and using the advice than normal weight adolescents. After 1 month adolescents receiving the standardised advice reported an increase in fat intake, while fat intake in the intervention condition was stable (F = 4·82, P < 0·05). After 3 months, there was a trend in the total group for an intervention effect of the tailored advice on fat intake (F = 2·80, P < 0·10). In the overweight group there was a clear positive effect (F = 5·76, P < 0·05).
The Food-O-Meter should be developed further. The results were modest but clear for percentage energy from fat, specifically in the overweight group. Adaptations based on new research are needed to enhance the reliability and effectiveness of the intervention.