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Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Examining the Effectiveness of Mobile Health Technologies in Using Self-Monitoring for Pediatric Weight Management

Darling, Katherine E., Sato, Amy F.
Childhood obesity 2017 v.13 no.5 pp. 347-355
childhood obesity, children, diet, meta-analysis, physical activity, public health, systematic review, weight control, United States
Background: Pediatric obesity is a public health concern related to multiple negative physical and psychosocial problems. While behavioral weight control (BWC) interventions are generally effective in decreasing pediatric weight status, these interventions are not able to reach the third of U.S. children currently classified as overweight or obese.Method: This review and meta-analysis examined the overall effectiveness of mobile health (mHealth) technologies employing self-monitoring, a central component of change within BWC, to decrease pediatric weight status.Results: Overall, a small, but significant overall effect size (d = 0.42) was found with the inclusion of nine eligible studies examining the effect on weight status. However, the quality of studies included within this weight status meta-analysis was weak, therefore limiting the interpretability of results. Analyses were also conducted examining the effect of mHealth technologies employing self-monitoring on secondary behavioral outcomes of physical activity and diet. Results indicated a small to medium, but nonsignificant effect (d = 0.41; four samples) on physical activity and a small, but significant effect on diet (d = 0.10; eight samples).Conclusions: Overall, the articles included in behavioral outcomes were of generally moderate quality. More work is needed to better identify the utility of mHealth and specific treatment components (such as self-monitoring), for pediatric weight management.