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Soc Sci Med. 2001 May;52(10):1517-24.

Efficacy of a minimal intervention to reduce fat intake.

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Centre for Research in Social Attitudes, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, UK.


Effective dietary interventions must be developed to reduce fat intake in whole populations, rather than clinical subgroups. This study tested the effects of personalised feedback on fat intake in a general population. Hospital workers (n = 801) were randomised to receive personalised feedback or no personalised feedback. Personalised feedback consisted of one sentence expressing current fat intake as a percentage of total calorific intake. Changes in fat intake from baseline to five months post-intervention were evaluated. The personalised intervention produced significant decreases in total and saturated fat intake, compared with the control group. Total-fat decreased by 8.6% (versus 0.2% in the control group); saturated fat decreased by 9.3% (versus 1.7% in the control group). Fat intake as a proportion of total calorific intake did not decrease significantly in either condition. Findings also revealed differential effects of feedback on high- versus low-fat consumer groups. Personalised feedback significantly reduced fat intake in high-fat consumers, and prevented low-fat consumers from increasing their fat intake. Personalised fat feedback therefore represents an efficacious and low-intensity approach to the reduction of fat intake in the general population.

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