To synthesize the evidence about the effects of telehealth interventions provided through smartphone apps and text messages on the behavior of adults regarding healthy food consumption.
A rapid systematic review of the literature was performed through searches in nine electronic databases to identify systematic reviews published in English, Portuguese, and Spanish that evaluated telehealth strategies compared to face-to-face interventions to improve dietary intake in the adult population (18 to 59 years old). Searches were performed in November 2020 and updated in April 2022. The included systematic reviews were assessed for methodological quality using the AMSTAR 2 tool.
Five systematic reviews were included. Methodological quality was moderate in one review and critically low in four. There was a dearth of studies comparing the use of telehealth strategies with face-to-face interventions for the promotion of healthy eating in adults. The most consistent results refer to an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables with the use of an app or text messages, in addition to improvement in the dietary habits of people with diabetes or glucose intolerance with the use of text messages.
Positive effects were observed on healthy eating outcomes for most interventions using mobile apps or text messages; however, the findings refer to a few clinical trials with small samples that were analyzed in the systematic reviews covered in the present rapid review, most of which had low methodological quality. Thus, the current knowledge gap warrants the performance of further methodologically robust studies.