Frequent Nutritional Feedback, Personalized Advice, and Behavioral Changes: Findings from the European Food4Me Internet-Based RCT

Carlos Celis-Morales, Katherine M. Livingstone, Fanny Petermann-Rocha, Santiago Navas-Carretero, Rodrigo San-Cristobal, Clare B. ODonovan, George Moschonis, Yannis Manios, Iwona Traczyk, Christian A. Drevon, Hannelore Daniel, Cyril F. M. Marsaux, Wim H. M. Saris, Rosalind Fallaize, Anna L. Macready, Julie A. Lovegrove, Mike Gibney, Eileen R. Gibney, Marianne Walsh, Lorraine BrennanJ. Alfredo Martinez, John C. Mathers*, Food4Me Study

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Intervention: 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 participants 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 (Delta=1.84 points, 95% CI=0.79, 2.89,p=0.0001). Similarly, there were greater improvements for the Higher- versus Lower-Frequency group for body weight (Delta= -0.73 kg, 95% CI= -1.07, -0.38, p

Conclusions: At 3 months, higher-frequency feedback produced larger improvements in overall diet quality as well as in body weight and waist circumference than lower-frequency feedback. However, only body weight and BMI remained significant at 6 months. (C) 2019 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019



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