Feasibility of using a web-based nutrition intervention among residents of multiethnic working-class neighborhoods.
Using the Internet to promote behavior change is becoming more desirable as Internet use continues to increase among diverse audiences. Yet we know very little about whether this medium is useful or about different strategies to encourage Internet use by various populations. This pilot study tested the usefulness of a Web-based intervention designed to deliver nutrition-related information to and increase fruit and vegetable consumption among adults from working-class neighborhoods.Participants (N = 52) had access to the Web site for 6 weeks and received three e-mail reminders encouraging them to eat fruits and vegetables. The Web site provided information about overcoming barriers to healthy eating, accessing social support for healthy eating, setting goals for healthy eating, and maintaining a healthy diet, including recipes. We collected data on participants' use of the Web site, their Internet access and use, and their fruit and vegetable consumption.The mean age of the participants was 46 years, 73% were white, 46% did not have a college degree, and 12% had household incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty index. They reported consuming an average of 3.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. More than half of the participants owned a computer, 75% logged onto the Web site at least once, and those who visited the site averaged 3.8 visits and viewed an average of 24.5 pages. The number of log-ons per day declined over the study period; however, reminder e-mails appeared to motivate participants to return to the Web site. Roughly 74% of participants viewed information on goal setting, 72% viewed information on dietary tracking, and 56% searched for main course recipes.The results of this pilot study suggest that Internet-based health messages have the potential to reach a large percentage of adults from working-class neighborhoods who have access to the Internet.
McNeill, LH; Viswanath, K; Bennett, GG; Puleo, E; Emmons, KM
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