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More frequent nutritional feedback and personalised advice produces larger behavioural changes: Findings from the European Food4Me internet-based randomized controlled trial

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Carlos Celis Morales, Dr Katherine Livingstone, Eileen Gibney, Mark Walsh, Professor Lorraine Brennan, Professor John Mathers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Introduction: This study tested the hypothesis that providing personalized nutritional advice and feedback more frequently would promote larger, more appropriate, and sustained changes in dietary behavior as well as greater reduction in adiposity. Study design: A 6-month RCT (Food4Me) was conducted in seven European countries between 2012 and 2013. Setting/participants: A total of 1,125 participants were randomized to Lower- (n=562) or Higher- (n=563) Frequency Feedback groups. Participants in the Lower-Frequency group received personalized nutritional advice at baseline and at Months 3 and 6 of the intervention, whereas the Higher-Frequency group received personalized nutritional advice at baseline and at Months 1, 2, 3 and 6. Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes were change in dietary intake (at food and nutrient levels) and obesity-related traits (body weight, BMI, and waist circumference). Participants completed an online food frequency questionnaire to estimate usual dietary intake at baseline and at Months 3 and 6 of the intervention. Overall diet quality was evaluated using the 2010 Healthy Eating Index. Obesity-related traits were self-measured and reported by participant via the Internet. Statistical analyses were performed during the first quarter of 2018. Results: At 3 months, participants in the Lower- and Higher-Frequency Feedback groups showed improvements in Healthy Eating Index score; this improvement was larger in the Higher-Frequency group than the Lower-Frequency group (=1.84, 95% CI=0.79, 2.89, p=0.0001). Similarly, there were greater improvements for the Higher- versus Lower-Frequency group for body weight (= –0.73 kg, 95% CI= –1.07, –0.38, p<0.0001), BMI (= –0.24 kg, 95% CI= –0.36, –0.13, p<0.0001), and waist circumference (= –1.20 cm, 95% CI= –2.36, –0.04, p=0.039). However, only body weight and BMI remained significant at 6 months. Conclusions: At 3 months, higher-frequency feedback produced larger improvements in overall diet quality as well as in body weight and waist circumference compared with lower-frequency feedback. However, only body weight and BMI remained significant at 6 months. Trial registration:, NCT01530139.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Celis-Morales C, Livingstone KM, Petermann F, Navas-Carretero S, San-Cristobal R, O'Donovan CB, Moschonis G, Manios Y, Traczyk I, Drevon CA, Daniel H, Marsaux CFM, Saris WHM, Fallaize R, Macready AL, Lovegrove JA, Gibney M, Gibney ER, Walsh M, Brennan L, Martinez JA, Mathers JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Year: 2019

Volume: 57

Issue: 2

Pages: 209-219

Print publication date: 01/08/2019

Online publication date: 25/06/2019

Acceptance date: 12/03/2019

Date deposited: 01/05/2019

ISSN (print): 0749-3797

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2607

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.03.024


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Funder referenceFunder name
265494Commission of the European Communities