Telehealth dietary intervention enhances diet quality
Dietary interventions targeting whole foods or dietary patterns delivered through telehealth can improve diet quality, fruit and vegetable intake, and dietary sodium intake, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Such interventions, when applicable, should be incorporated into healthcare services for people with chronic conditions, researchers said, adding that telehealth intervention could overcome patient-centred barriers to accessing face-to-face programmes and provide feasible delivery methods, accessible regardless of geographic location.
To assess the effectiveness of telehealth dietary interventions at facilitating dietary change in chronic disease, a structured systematic search was conducted for all randomized controlled trials (n=25) evaluating multifactorial dietary interventions in adults with chronic disease that provided diet education in an intervention longer than 4 weeks.
Researchers performed meta-analyses that used the random-effects model on diet quality, dietary adherence, and intakes of fruit and vegetables, sodium, energy and dietary fat. The included trials involved a total of 7,384 participants.
Telehealth dietary intervention improved diet quality (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.22; 95 percent CI, 0.09 to 0.34; p=0.0007), fruit and vegetable intake (MD, 1.04 servings/day; 0.46 to 1.62; p=0.0004), and dietary sodium intake (SMD, –0.39; –0.58 to –0.20; p=0.0001).
On the other hand, telehealth intervention did not improve single nutrients (total fat and energy consumption).
However, important clinical outcomes were improved after a telehealth intervention. These outcomes included systolic blood pressure (MD, –2.97 mm Hg; –5.72 to –0.22 mm Hg; p=0.05), total cholesterol (MD, –0.08 mmol/L; –0.16 to –0.00; p=0.04), triglycerides (MD, –0.10 mmol/L; –0.19 to –0.01; p=0.04), weight (MD, –0.80 kg; –1.61 to 0; p=0.05) and waist circumference (MD, –2.08 cm; –3.97 to –0.20; p=0.03).
“The long-term management of chronic disease requires the adoption of complex dietary recommendations, which can be facilitated by regular coaching to support behavioral changes,” researchers said.