Adaptive e-learning to improve dietary behaviour: a systematic review and cost-effectiveness analysis

Authors: Harris J, Felix L, Miners A, Murray E, Michie S, Ferguson E, Free C, Lock K, Landon J, Edwards P

Journal: Health Technology Assessment Volume: 15 Issue: 37

Publication date: October 2011

DOI: 10.3310/hta15370

Citation:

Harris J, Felix L, Miners A, Murray E, Michie S, Ferguson E, et al.Adaptive e-learning to improve dietary behaviour: a systematic review and cost-effectiveness analysis. Health Technol Assess 2011;15(37)


Download: Citation (for this publication as a .ris file) (5.3 KB)


Journal issues* can be purchased by completing the form.


The cost of reports varies according to number of pages and postage address. The minimum cost for a copy sent to a UK address is £30.00. We will contact you on receipt of your completed form to advise you of actual cost. If you have any queries, please contact nihredit@southampton.ac.uk.


*We regret that unfortunately we are unable to supply bound print copies of Health Technology Assessment published before issue 12:31. However, PDFs are available to print from the "Downloads" tab of the issue page.

Responses

No responses have been published. If you would like to submit a response to this publication, please do so using the form below.

Comments submitted to the NIHR Journals Library are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our readers to debate issues raised in research reports published in the Journals Library. We aim to post within 2 working days all responses that contribute substantially to the topic investigated, as determined by the Editors.

Your name and affiliations will be published with your comment.

Once published, you will not have the right to remove or edit your response. The Editors may add, remove, or edit comments at their absolute discretion.

Post your response

Surname

Forename

Middle Initial

Occupation / Job title

Affiliation / Employer

Email

Address

Other authors

For example, if you are responding as a team or group. Please ensure you include full names and separate these using commas

Statement of competing interests

We believe that readers should be aware of any competing interests (conflicts of interest).

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) define competing interests as including: financial relationships with industry (for example through employment, consultancies, stock, ownership, honoraria, and expert testimony), either directly or through immediate family; personal relationships; academic competition; and intellectual passion.

If yes, provide details below:

Enter response title

Enter response message

Enter CAPTCHA

Security key

Regenerate security key

By submitting your response, you are stating that you agree to the terms & conditions

The full text of this issue is available as a PDF document from the Downloads section on this page.

Abstract

Background

UK public health policy strongly advocates dietary change for the improvement of population health and emphasises the importance of individual empowerment to improve health. A new and evolving area in the promotion of dietary behavioural change is 'e-learning', the use of interactive electronic media to facilitate teaching and learning on a range of issues including health. The high level of accessibility, combined with emerging advances in computer processing power, data transmission and data storage, makes interactive e-learning a potentially powerful and cost-effective medium for improving dietary behaviour.

Objective

This review aims to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adaptive e-learning interventions for dietary behaviour change, and also to explore potential psychological mechanisms of action and components of effective interventions.

Data sources

Electronic bibliographic databases (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, The Cochrane Library, Dissertation Abstracts, EMBASE, Education Resources Information Center, Global Health, Health Economic Evaluations Database, Health Management Information Consortium, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science) were searched for the period January 1990 to November 2009. Reference lists of included studies and previous reviews were also screened; authors were contacted and trial registers were searched.

Review methods

Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials, involving participants aged 13 years, which evaluated the effectiveness of interactive software programs for improving dietary behaviour. Primary outcomes were measures of dietary behaviours, including estimated intakes or changes in intake of energy, nutrients, dietary fibre, foods or food groups. Secondary outcome measures were clinical outcomes such as anthropometry or blood biochemistry. Psychological mediators of dietary behaviour change were also investigated. Two review authors independently screened results and extracted data from included studies, with any discrepancies settled by a third author. Where studies reported the same outcome, the results were pooled using a random-effects model, with weighted mean differences (WMDs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Cost-effectiveness was assessed in two ways: through a systematic literature review and by building a de novo decision model to assess the cost-effectiveness of a 'generic' e-learning device compared with dietary advice delivered by a health-care professional.

Results

A total of 36,379 titles were initially identified by the electronic searches, of which 43 studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. All e-learning interventions were delivered in high-income countries. The most commonly used behavioural change techniques reported to have been used were goal setting; feedback on performance; information on consequences of behaviour in general; barrier identification/problem solving; prompting self-monitoring of behaviour; and instruction on how to perform the behaviour. There was substantial heterogeneity in the estimates of effect. E-learning interventions were associated with a WMD of +0.24 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.44) servings of fruit and vegetables per day; -0.78 g (95% CI -2.5 g to 0.95 g) total fat consumed per day; -0.24 g (95% CI -1.44 g to 0.96 g) saturated fat intake per day; -1.4% (95% CI -2.5% to -0.3%) of total energy consumed from fat per day; +1.45 g (95% CI -0.02 g to 2.92 g) dietary fibre per day; +4 kcal (95% CI -85 kcal to 93 kcal) daily energy intake; -0.1 kg/m2 (95% CI -0.7 kg/m2 to 0.4 kg/m2) change in body mass index. The base-case results from the E-Learning Economic Evaluation Model suggested that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was approximately £102,112 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Expected value of perfect information (EVPI) analysis showed that although the individual-level EVPI was arguably negligible, the population-level value was between £37M and £170M at a willingness to pay of £20,000-30,000 per additional QALY.

Limitations

The limitations of this review include potential reporting bias, incomplete retrieval of completed research studies and data extraction errors.

Conclusion

The current clinical and economic evidence base suggests that e-learning devices designed to promote dietary behaviour change will not produce clinically significant changes in dietary behaviour and are at least as expensive as other individual behaviour change interventions. FUTURE WORK RECOMMENDATIONS: Despite the relatively high EVPI results from the cost-effectiveness modelling, further clinical trials of individual e-learning interventions should not be undertaken until theoretically informed work that addresses the question of which characteristics of the target population, target behaviour, content and delivery of the intervention are likely to lead to positive results, is completed.

Funding

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

Publication updates

If you would like to receive information on publications and the latest news, click below to sign up.