Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi randomised studies that assessed second-generation interventions targeted at health behaviour related to nutrition, physical activity or weight management alone or in combination were eligible for inclusion. Studies had to report pre- and post-test data for behavioural, psychological or physiological outcomes. Studies that measured only the feasibility and acceptability of computer-delivered tailored health communication, that focused on diabetes self-management and that gave advice in a computer kiosk or online shopping site were excluded.
Interventions (all tailored) included fruit and vegetable consumption, fat information, pre-contemplation feedback, contemplation feedback, action feedback, intervention/advice (no further details), concept of self efficacy group, self efficacy plus action planning group, advice plus emails, advice plus exercise, computer-automated counselling and human email counselling. Control interventions included tailored print delivered intervention, general intervention, waiting list control, no information control, exercise only, and no counselling. Interventions were administered by email, CD-ROM, internet program/site and newsletters. Most studies performed the intervention in a real-life setting; three were conducted in a controlled situation in which participants performed assessments and received tailored information or feedback in classrooms or offices.
Studies reported the outcomes of weight, physical activity, blood pressure, body fat percentage, blood lipids, waist circumference, flexibility and cardiorespiratory fitness. Three studies targeted minority groups including 11 to 14 year-old urban African Americans, low-income culturally diverse seventh grade students and ethnically diverse women. Other specific risk groups studied included sedentary adults and overweight or obese individuals. Most studies reported follow-up of less than six months; the longest follow-up was 13 months.
The authors did not state how studies were selected for inclusion.