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Title: Assessment of the efficacy, safety, and effectiveness of weight control and obesity management mobile health interventions: Systematic review
Author: Puigdomenech Puig, Elisa María
Robles Muñoz, Noemí
Saigí-Rubió, Francesc  
Zamora Cervantes, Alberto
Moharra Francés, Montserrat
Paluzie, Guillermo
Balfegó Díaz, Mariona
Cuatrecasas Cambra, Guillem  
García Lorda, Pilar
Carrion, Carme  
Others: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Universitat de Girona
Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya
Citation: Puigdomènech, E., Robles, N., Saigí-Rubió, F., Zamora, A., Moharra, M., Paluzie, G., Balfegó, M., Cuatrecasas, G., García Lorda, P. & Carrión Ribas, C. (2019). Assessment of the Efficacy, Safety, and Effectiveness of Weight Control and Obesity Management Mobile Health Interventions: Systematic Review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(10), 1-12. doi: 10.2196/12612
Abstract: Background: The use of apps to tackle overweight and obesity by tracking physical and dietary patterns and providing ecommendations and motivation strategies to achieve personalized goals has increased over recent years. However, evidence of the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of these apps is severely lacking. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify efficacy, safety, and effectiveness criteria used to assess weight control, overweight, and obesity management in mobile health (mHealth) interventions through a systematic review. Methods: PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, UK Trial Database,, and the Cochrane Library were surveyed up to May 2018. All types of clinical studies were considered. A total of 2 independent reviewers assessed quality using Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) criteria. Ratings were used to provide an overall score for each study (low, moderate, or high). Data were synthesized in evidence tables. Results: From 233 potentially relevant publications, only 28 studies were included. Of these, 13 (46%) were randomized control trials, 11 were single-arm studies (39%), 3 were nonrandomized controlled trials (11%), and 1 study was a cluster randomized trial (4%). The studies were classified as low (15), high (7), and moderate (6) quality according to SIGN criteria. All studies focused on efficacy, with only 1 trial mentioning safety and another 1 effectiveness. In 11 studies, the apps were used as stand-alone interventions, the others were multicomponent studies that included other tools for support such as sensors or websites. The main management tool included in the apps was feedback messaging (24), followed by goal-setting mechanisms (20) and self-monitoring (19). The majority of studies took weight or body mass index loss as the main outcome (22) followed by changes in physical activity (14) and diet (12). Regarding outputs, usability, adherence, and engagement (17) were the most reported, followed by satisfaction (7) and acceptability (4). Conclusions: There is a remarkable heterogeneity among these studies and the majority have methodological limitations that leave considerable room for improvement. Further research is required to identify all relevant criteria for assessing the efficacy of mHealth interventions in the management of overweight and obesity.
Keywords: mHealth
systematic review
technology assessment
DOI: 10.2196/12612
Document type: info:eu-repo/semantics/review
Version: info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Issue Date: Oct-2019
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