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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug;59 Suppl 1:S130-7; discussion S138-9.

The internet and nutrition education: challenges and opportunities.

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Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To review the possibilities of using the Internet and especially the World Wide Web (WWW) in nutrition education.


A healthy existence is partly dependent on dietary behaviours. One way to promote health-promoting dietary habits is nutrition education. In the last decades several potentially important new channels for health communication and nutrition education have emerged, with the Internet and its WWW as the most striking example. The introduction and growth of the WWW has enabled swift and inexpensive distribution of nutrition education expertise and materials. Furthermore, the WWW has also been used for tailoring nutrition education to the personal characteristics of the user. Only few studies have investigated the effects of generic web-based nutrition education, while web-based computer-tailored nutrition education has been studied in randomised controlled trials, with promising but mixed results. Two important challenges for web-based nutrition education interventions are to realise sufficient exposure and to ensure sufficient source reliability and credibility.


Next to the great opportunities, there are many challenges for web-based nutrition education. Some evidence for effects of web-based computer-tailored nutrition education has been reported, but more research is needed to obtain evidence for the effectiveness in real-life situations.

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