Obesity in childhood has a high correlation with obesity in adulthood, which is a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Introducing interventions for children that are overweight or obese, can reduce the likelihood of obesity in adulthood and associated morbidities. mHealth applications allow for convenient ways to introduce health behaviors to individuals. This rapid review assessed the effectiveness of dietary mHealth applications on childhood obesity. PubMed and CINAHL databases were searched with 374 unique articles found. Using the PRISMA guidelines these results were narrowed to five. The included studies fit the necessary criteria of mHealth intervention through smartphone or tablet application with a main dietary component, focused on adolescents with a BMI defined as obese. The results of the studies generally suggest an impact on decreasing BMI. Of the four studies focused on BMI z-score, three showed a decrease from pre-test to post-test, with only one at statistical significance. BMI percentiles were the primary outcome in three studies with two showing a decrease from pre- to post-intervention, without reaching significance. A secondary outcome of caloric and sugar intake did decrease in 2 studies each, suggesting benefits of mHealth on changing eating behaviors within the intervention group. The results from this review show that mHealth can alter eating behaviors. Future research would benefit from adapting mHealth interventions to incorporate other obesity prevention methods like physical activity, in addition to diet, which may further impact BMI and reduce childhood obesity.
Avanzato, Erin, "Effectiveness of Dietary mHealth Intervention on Childhood Obesity" (2023). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 507.