Offering disadvantaged adolescents hope for a better future through eHealth interventions targeting poor diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping: Findings from a systematic review


  • Lyra Egan The University of Sydney
  • Katrina Champion The University of Sydney
  • Lauren Gardner The University of Sydney
  • Nicola Newton The University of Sydney


Introduction: Chronic disease burden disproportionately affects disadvantaged adolescent populations. Preventing chronic disease risk behaviours including poor diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping in adolescence is critical. Universal eHealth interventions provide effective prevention, and are a potentially viable option to reach disadvantaged adolescents. However, it is unclear whether they adequately serve disadvantaged adolescents, including those from lower socioeconomic and geographically remote contexts.

Aims: We aimed to synthesise evidence for the effectiveness of eHealth interventions targeting disadvantaged adolescents in preventing poor diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping.

Methods: Seven electronic databases were systematically searched. Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental trials of eHealth interventions targeting diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping among adolescents, that reported at least one marker of socioeconomic status or geographical remoteness. Two reviewers screened, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias.

Results: 3278 articles were identified and fifteen were included for extraction. Nine trials were among adolescents of low socioeconomic status (targeting poor diet [n=6]; alcohol use [n=2], and tobacco smoking [n=1]), four were among adolescents living in geographically remote areas (targeting poor diet [n=3], and alcohol use [n=1]), and one study focused on adolescents of low socioeconomic and geographically remote backgrounds (targeting alcohol and tobacco smoking). No studies targeted vaping.

Conclusions: There is a lack of eHealth interventions targeting adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds in preventing poor diet, alcohol use, tobacco smoking and vaping. Addressing these risk behaviours among disadvantaged adolescents has the potential to improve future health and narrow health inequities.





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