Evidence for Change

In our Evidence for Change series, we provide a brief overview of key behavioral science research that Atlantis Health applies in supporting patients living with long-term conditions to achieve optimal health outcomes and Change for Good.


Relevance today

Challenge: Adhering to healthy eating behaviors to reduce the risk of chronic health conditions is an important but difficult challenge. Digital solutions can encourage healthy eating habits and evidence for their effectiveness is now starting to emerge. The use of digital health interventions for effective and sustainable behavior change is increasingly receiving global attention and investment, as it enables the delivery of healthcare in a scalable and cost-effective way.  

This 2024 paper reviews the effectiveness of internet-based smartphone app interventions targeting health eating behaviors across diverse populations and recommends best practices for promoting sustainable healthy eating habits. Internet-based smartphone apps are defined here as either apps specifically designed for mobile devices or web-based apps that run on browsers across different devices. 

What the research tells us

The review analyzed 39 randomized controlled trials that covered 25 smartphone-based apps and 14 web-based apps. The authors reported that mobile apps focused on nutrition and social media were consistently effective for promoting long-term healthy eating habits. The best practices for apps targeted toward healthy eating behaviors were: 

tailoring app-based interventions to the target users in mind

sending regular messages and providing feedback to patients

and using concise and engaging visual content, such as icons and other pictorial information.

Smartphone app-based interventions were effective in promoting healthier eating habits among those living with chronic health conditions more so than healthy adults, suggesting that apps help patients adhere to behavior changes and modifications when designed effectively

The use of smartphone apps (offline or web-based) has led to positive changes in healthy eating habits among different populations and individuals with varying health conditions.

Applying the research

Overall, this review shows the effectiveness of smartphone apps in promoting healthier eating behavior and that tailoring the app content and design to the condition is a key way to enhance adherence to healthy eating behaviors

Atlantis Health designs and delivers personalized and interactive behavior change solutions that improve patient engagement and adherence to medications and other health behaviors across long-term health conditions.

Working with pharma and healthcare organizations, we configure our Patient Support App to offer evidence-based patient experiences at scale.

Read more about the Atlantis Health Patient Support App in action for people managing type 2 diabetes.

Patient support app on mobile phone