Online Prevention Aimed at Lifestyle Behaviors: a Systematic Review of Reviews


  • R. Crutzen
  • L.F.M. Kohl
  • N. K. de Vries


Background: Interventions aimed at behaviour change are increasingly being delivered over the Internet. Although research on intervention effectiveness has been widely conducted, their true public health impact as indicated by reach, effectiveness, and use is unclear. The aim of this paper is to review the current literature on online prevention aimed at lifestyle behaviours in terms of public health impact. Methods: A systematic search revealed 41 eligible reviews on Internet-delivered behaviour change interventions, which were analysed in terms of reach, effectiveness, and use. Findings: Evaluations are predominantly effect-focused and overall effects are small, variable, and not sustainable. Effectiveness cannot yet be unambiguously attributed to isolated elements. Actual reach of interventions is undiversified, mostly reaching participants who are female, highly educated, white, and living in high-income countries. One of the most substantial problems in online prevention is the low use of the interventions. Discussion: Identified research gaps regarding reach, effectiveness, and use will be discussed.