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Effectiveness of Interventions and Behaviour Change Techniques for Improving Dietary Intake in Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of RCTs

1
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
2
Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308, Australia
3
Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040825
Received: 24 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Behaviours during Young Adulthood)
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Abstract

Poor eating habits are common during young adulthood and influence chronic disease morbidity. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of interventions aiming to improve dietary intake among young adults and, identifies which behaviour change techniques (BCTs) are most effective. Six electronic databases were searched for RCTs published until October 2018, and evaluating behavioural interventions assessing change in dietary intake in young adults (17–35 years). Of the 18,779 articles identified, 54 were included. Forty studies focused on fruit and/or vegetable intake, of which 63% showed a significant between-group difference in favour of the intervention group. Meta-analysis (n = 17) demonstrated a significant increase in fruit and vegetable intake of +68.6 g/day after three months of intervention and +65.8 g/day for interventions >3 months when compared to control. A meta-analysis (n = 5) on total energy intake found no significant differences between groups. The BCTs with the highest effectiveness ratio were habit formation (100%), salience of consequences (83%) and adding objects to the environment (70%). The review highlights the potential of behavioural interventions to improve young adults’ fruit and vegetable intake but was less convincing for other dietary outcomes. Due to the lack of studies including each BCT, the BCTs imperative to success could not be identified. View Full-Text
Keywords: behaviour change techniques; young adults; nutrition; systematic review; meta-analysis behaviour change techniques; young adults; nutrition; systematic review; meta-analysis
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Ashton, L.M.; Sharkey, T.; Whatnall, M.C.; Williams, R.L.; Bezzina, A.; Aguiar, E.J.; Collins, C.E.; Hutchesson, M.J. Effectiveness of Interventions and Behaviour Change Techniques for Improving Dietary Intake in Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of RCTs. Nutrients 2019, 11, 825.

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