BACKGROUND:Traditional approaches for treating or managing children and adolescents with overweight or obesity have limited effectiveness. Current advances in smartphone technology may improve the attractiveness and accessibility of weight management support for children and adolescents with overweight or obesity. This systematic review aimed to provide a comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of using smartphones in the multidisciplinary treatment of child and adolescent overweight or obesity, with a specific interest in behavior change.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:The databases of Medline complete, OVID, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PubMed were searched for randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies addressing behavioral change using smartphone technology, plus nutrition and/or physical activity, to treat or manage child and adolescent obesity.
RESULTS:Only two RCTs have described the effectiveness of smartphone devices in pediatric overweight or obesity treatment. Within the limitation of the two studies, electronic contact (e-contact) appeared unsuccessful in achieving weight loss. However, smartphone usage was linked to improved engagement and reduced dropout rates during important sustainability phases of these long-term interventions.
CONCLUSIONS:Smartphone technologies allow users to accomplish tasks anywhere and anytime and, as such, provide researchers with additional and generationally appropriate capacities to deliver health promotion. E-contact should be used for its significant capacity to prolong engagement and decrease withdrawal during sustainability phases that follow intensive intervention for weight management in young populations. Despite increasing popularity in published protocols of weight management trials, the effectiveness of the impact of smartphone technology in pediatric programs remains equivocal.