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Why are evidence-based interventions important?

The U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services "strongly recommends" evidence-based, "individually-adapted health behavior change programs."

Alive! is just such a program. It is extensively tailored to account for individual differences, and it has been proven effective in a randomized trial. The program has also been updated and expanded with funding from the National Institutes of Health; a second trial is set to begin Spring 2010.

Alive! was developed by research scientists and other public health experts to impact and improve the behaviors associated with long term health.

More About Alive!

The Alive! program is based on years of solid research and the expertise of a highly-qualified team of specialists, including:

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Materials documenting the development and success of Alive!

The History of Alive!

Alive! is an enhancement of a successful prototype called Worksite Internet Nutrition (WIN). The WIN program was a 12-week program in which participants worked on reducing total fat or increasing intake of fruits and vegetables; it was delivered entirely via email. Development of WIN was supported in part by a grant from the California Department of Health Services, Cancer Research Program.

Alive! has improved on the original concept in WIN by:

An article describing the development and testing of WIN was published in 2004 in Preventing Chronic Disease, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The Little-by-Little CD-ROM

Also a precursor to the development of Alive! , Little-by-Little is a behavioral intervention designed to help individuals make dietary changes to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce fat intake. It was developed at the University of California, Berkeley, by Dr. Gladys Block and colleagues. Little-by-Little is primarily intended to be used as a one-time educational or behavior-change experience (as opposed to the Alive! multi-week process). In the randomized trial in which it was tested and found to be effective, participants interacted with the CD-ROM in a single sitting. The randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted among low-income African American and White women, and it demonstrated statistically significant increased intake of fruits and vegetables.

The program content is guided by behavior-change principles: nutrition screening and feedback; tailoring based on readiness for change and participant lifestyle; flexibility and individual choice; and goal-setting. Brief dietary assessments are followed by immediate feedback on participants' intake in relation to recommendations, identification of the top sources of fat in the participant's diet, and suggestions for lower-fat alternatives. A food sufficiency question can identify persons in need, who in turn are given the phone number of a local Food Stamps office (entered by an administrator during initial set-up.)

Participants choose which dietary area to focus on, and within each dietary area may explore topics of particular concern, such as cost, time constraints, and children's preferences. After completing either the fruit/vegetable module or the fat-reduction module, participants are presented with a list of possible goals.

The goals offered are guided in part by the options that the user has chosen during the CD-ROM exploration, and emphasize small achievable goals. Users are encouraged to choose one or two goals to try for two weeks. If a printer is available, a certificate can be printed, showing the goals chosen and providing a place to sign a commitment.

Little-by-Little is available as a CD-ROM at the cost of $15, as a service to researchers and public health.