OBJECTIVE: This systematic review was conducted to determine user satisfaction and effectiveness of smartphone applications and text messaging interventions to promote weight reduction and physical activity.
METHODS: Studies of smartphone applications and text messaging interventions related to the cardiovascular risk factors of physical inactivity and overweight/obesity published between January 2005 and August 2010 were eligible. Studies related to disease management were excluded. Study characteristics and results were gathered and synthesized.
RESULTS: A total of 36 citations from CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsyclNFO, and PubMed were identified; 7 articles were eligible for inclusion. The most frequent outcome measured in the studies was change in the weight of participants (57%). More than half of the studies (71%) reported statistically significant results in at least 1 outcome of weight loss, physical activity, dietary intake, decreased body mass index, decreased waist circumference, sugar-sweetened beverage intake, screen time, and satisfaction or acceptability outcomes.
CONCLUSONS: All of the technology interventions that were supported by education or an additional intervention demonstrated a beneficial impact of text messaging or smartphone application for reduction of physical inactivity and/or overweight/obesity. More rigorous trials that determine what parts of the technology or intervention are effective as well as establishment of cost-effectiveness are necessary for further evaluation of smartphone and text messaging interventions.
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