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Characteristics of participants who benefit most from personalised nutrition: findings from the pan-European Food4Me randomized controlled trial

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



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Little is known about who would benefit from internet-based personalised nutrition (PN) interventions. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics of participants who achieved greatest improvements (i.e. benefit) in diet, adiposity and biomarkers following an internet-based PN intervention. Adults (n=1607) from seven European countries were recruited into a 6-month, randomized controlled trial (Food4Me) and randomized to receive conventional dietary advice (control) or PN advice. Information on dietary intake, adiposity, physical activity, blood biomarkers and participant characteristics was collected at baseline and month 6. Benefit from the intervention was defined as ≥5% change in the primary outcome (Healthy Eating Index) and secondary outcomes (waist circumference and BMI, physical activity, sedentary time and plasma concentrations of cholesterol, carotenoids and omega-3 index) at month 6. For our primary outcome, benefit from the intervention was greater in older participants and women. Benefit was greater for individuals reporting greater self-efficacy for “sticking to healthful foods” and who “felt weird if [they] didn’t eat healthily”. Participants benefited more if they reported wanting to improve their health and wellbeing. The characteristics of individuals benefiting did not differ by other demographic, health-related, anthropometric or genotypic characteristics. Findings were similar for secondary outcomes. Older individuals, women and individuals with less healthy diets at baseline benefitted more from PN advice. The odds of benefiting did not differ by weight status, genetic risk or socio-economic position. These findings have implications for the design of more effective future PN intervention studies and for tailored nutritional advice in public health and clinical settings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Livingstone KM, CelisMorales C, NavasCarretero S, SanCristobal R, Forster H, Woolhead C, ODonovan CB, Moschonis G, Manios Y, Traczyk I, Gundersen TE, Drevon CA, Marsaux CFM, Fallaize R, Macready AL, Daniel H, Saris WHM, Lovegrove JA, Gibney M, Gibney ER, Walsh M, Brennan L, Martinez JA, Mathers JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2020

Volume: 123

Issue: 12

Pages: 1396-1405

Print publication date: 28/06/2020

Online publication date: 27/02/2020

Acceptance date: 18/02/2020

Date deposited: 21/02/2020

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007114520000653


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