Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-experimental designs that assessed second- or third-generation computer-tailored dietary behaviour change interventions in adults with pre-test and post-test behavioural outcome data were eligible for inclusion. Conference abstracts were excluded, as were dissertations, commentaries, technology descriptions or information architecture and descriptions of the development of an intervention. Also excluded were studies in which the intervention was targeted at caregivers, health professionals and those either with a manifest chronic disease state or whose recruitment was based upon chronic disease registries. Studies of interventions that included individual therapist-generated feedback or that were described as maintenance strategy for a previous intervention were excluded. Interventions with limited interpersonal contact were included and these comprised: computer-tailored feedback through telephone or email; initial one-off face-to-face sessions for the purpose of instructing participants in the use of the technology or data collection; and interventions that had additional treatment arms such as face-to-face sessions. Interventions with significant face-to-face contact that involved counselling in one of the main treatment arms of the study were excluded. Dietary behaviours included reduced fat consumption, increased fruit and vegetable consumption or increased fibre intake. Delivery mechanisms for computer-tailored interventions included desktop computer programs, internet/intranet, telephone and multimedia. The primary outcome measure was dietary behaviour change; where multiple behaviours were assessed only dietary behaviour and change in body mass or weight outcomes were considered. The most frequently used outcome measure was the food frequency questionnaire. Most included studies involved self-selected healthy adults recruited through community, workplace and primary health care settings. Where stated, mean age ranged from 20.2 to 45.9 years and the proportion of females ranged from 43% to 100%.
The authors stated neither how the studies were selected for the review nor how many reviewers performed the selection.