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Nutritional education through internet-delivered menu plans among adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: pilot study.

BACKGROUND: A potential barrier to weight loss and vascular risk reduction is difficulty in operationalizing dietary education into a concrete plan. Although a variety of Internet-based software tools are now available to address this issue, there has been little formal evaluation of these tools.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this single-arm pilot study is to determine the effect of a 24-week Internet-based menu-planning program, by examining pre- to postintervention changes in the body weight, blood pressure, and glycemia, specifically among overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), a clinical population at high risk for vascular diseases.

METHODS: A total of 33 adults with DM2 were recruited by collaborating registered dietitians to a 24-week Internet-based menu-planning program. Individualized dietary prescriptions were operationalized into weekly Internet-delivered menu plans through an adapted version of a commercially available service. Adherence was defined as logging into the program at least once per week for a minimum of 18 of the 24 weeks. Multiple imputations were used for missing data. Using baseline and postintervention assessments, we calculated the weight changes (mean, 95% CI) and investigated the corresponding effects (linear regression models) on blood pressure (systolic, diastolic) and hemoglobin A1C (ie, glycemia).

RESULTS: The mean age was 58 (SD 7) years and the mean baseline body mass index was 34.4 (SD 4.6) kg/m(2). The results of this study showed that ≥5% weight reduction was achieved by 6/33 participants (18%) and by 5/18 adherent participants (28%). A mean weight change of -2.0% (95% CI -2.6 to -1.4) was observed, with changes occurring in the adherent (-3.6%, 95% CI -4.5 to -2.8) but not in the nonadherent (0%, 95% CI -0.6 to 0.7). It was found that each 1% reduction in body weight was associated with a -2.4 mmHg change in systolic (95% CI -3.5 to -1.2) and a -0.8 mmHg change in diastolic blood pressure (95% CI -1.4 to -0.2). Percent weight change was not found to be related to changes in A1C.

CONCLUSIONS: In adults with DM2, an Internet-based menu-planning program has the potential to lead to clinically important weight reductions in more than one quarter of those who adhere, with corresponding improvements in blood pressure.

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