Effectiveness of information technology–enabled ‘SMART Eating’ health promotion intervention: A cluster randomized controlled trial

Autoři: Jasvir Kaur aff001;  Manmeet Kaur aff001;  Venkatesan Chakrapani aff001;  Jacqui Webster aff003;  Joseph Alvin Santos aff003;  Rajesh Kumar aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India aff001;  Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP), Chennai, India aff002;  The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia aff003;  School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225892



Unhealthy dietary behaviour–high intake of fat, sugar, and salt, and low intake of fruits and vegetables–is a major risk factor for chronic diseases. There is a lack of evidence-based interventions to promote healthy dietary intake among Indian populations. Therefore, we tested the effectiveness of an information technology-enabled ‘SMART Eating’ intervention to reduce the intake of fat, sugar and salt, and to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables.


In Chandigarh, a North Indian city, a cluster randomized controlled trial was implemented in twelve geographical clusters, based on the type of housing (i.e., LIG: Low-income group; MIG; Middle-income group, and HIG: High-income group–a proxy for socio-economic status). Computer-generated randomization was used to allocate clusters to intervention and comparison arms after pairing on the basis of socioeconomic status and geographical distance between clusters. The sample size was 366 families per arm (N = 732). One adult per family was randomly selected as an index case to measure the change in the outcomes. For behaviour change, a multi-channel communication approach was used, which included information technology–short message service (SMS), email, social networking app and ‘SMART Eating’ website, and interpersonal communication along with distribution of a ‘SMART Eating’ kit—kitchen calendar, dining table mat, and measuring spoons. The intervention was implemented at the family level over a period of six months. The comparison group received pamphlets on nutrition education. Outcome measurements were made at 0 and 6 months post-intervention at the individual level. Primary outcomes were changes in mean dietary intakes of fat, sugar, salt, and fruit and vegetables. Secondary outcomes included changes in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, haemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and serum lipids. Mixed-effects linear regression models were used to determine the net change in the outcomes in the intervention group relative to the comparison group.


Participants’ mean age was 53 years, a majority were women (76%), most were married (90%) and 51% had completed a college degree. All families had mobile phones, and more than 90% of these families had access to Internet through mobile phones. The intervention group had significant net mean changes of -12.5 g/day (p<0.001), -11.4 g/day (p<0.001), -0.5 g/day (p<0.001), and +71.6 g/day (p<0.001) in the intake of fat, sugar, salt, and fruit and vegetables, respectively. Similarly, significant net changes occurred for secondary outcomes: BMI -0.25 kg/m2, diastolic blood pressure -2.77 mm Hg, FPG -5.7 mg/dl, and triglycerides -24.2mg/dl. The intervention had no effect on haemoglobin, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.


The IT-enabled ‘SMART Eating’ intervention was found to be effective in reducing fat, sugar, and salt intake, and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among urban adults from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Trial registration

Clinical Trial Registry of India CTRI/2016/11/007457.

Klíčová slova:

Blood plasma – Blood pressure – Eating – Fats – Cholesterol – India – Nutrition – Sodium chloride


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