Effectiveness of dietary interventions delivered by digital health to adults with chronic conditions: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Amandine Barnett*, Charlene Wright, Christine Stone, Nok Yin Ho, Pooja Adhyaru, Sarah Kostjasyn, Ingrid J. Hickman, Katrina L. Campbell, Hannah L. Mayr, Jaimon T. Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Digital health interventions may facilitate management of chronic conditions; however, no reviews have systematically assessed the effectiveness of dietary interventions delivered by digital health platforms for improving dietary intake and clinical outcomes for adults with diet-related chronic conditions.

    Methods: Databases CINAHL, CENTRAL, Embase and MEDLINE were searched from inception to April 2021 to identify controlled trials for dietary education delivered by digital health (mobile or electronic health) to adults with diet-related chronic conditions. Random effects analysis was performed for diet quality, food groups, nutrients and clinical outcomes. Screening, data extraction and quality checking were completed in duplicate. 

    Results: Thirty-nine studies were included involving 7333 participants. Significant changes were found for Mediterranean diet adherence score (standardised mean difference [SMD] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.18 to 1.40), overall fruit and vegetable intake (mean difference [MD]: 0.63 serves/day; 95% CI = 0.27–0.98), fruit intake alone (MD = 0.58 serves/day; 95% CI = 0.39 to 0.77) and sodium intake (SMD = −0.22; 95% CI = −0.44 to −0.01). Improvements were also found for waist circumference [MD = −2.24 centimetres; 95% CI = −4.14 to −0.33], body weight (MD = −1.94 kg; 95% CI = −2.63 to −1.24) and haemoglobin A1c (MD = −0.17%; 95% CI = −0.29 to −0.04). Validity of digital assessment tools to measure dietary intake were not reported. The quality of evidence was considered to have low to moderate certainty. 

    Conclusions: Modest improvements in diet and clinical outcomes may result from intervention via digital health for those with diet-related chronic conditions. However, additional robust trials with better reporting of digital dietary assessment tools are needed to support implementation within clinical practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)632-656
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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