Digital Health Interventions for Weight Management in Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Matina Kouvari, Melina Karipidou, Thomas Tsiampalis, Eirini Mamalaki, Dimitrios Poulimeneas, Eirini Bathrellou, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Mary Yannakoulia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Recent meta-analyses suggest the use of technology-based interventions as a treatment option for obesity in adulthood. Similar meta-analytic approaches for children are scarce. Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis is to examine the effect of technology-based interventions on overweight and obesity treatment in children and adolescents. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed using MEDLINE (PubMed), Scopus, and Cochrane Library for randomized clinical trials to identify interventional studies published between January 2000 and February 2021. Results: In total, 9 manuscripts from 8 clinical trials of 582 children or adolescents were considered eligible. BMI, BMI z-score, and other BMI-related baseline metrics during and after intervention were considered as primary outcomes. In 7 of 8 studies, a technology-based intervention was applied in addition to conventional care. Of the 8 studies, 6 studies were conducted in the United States, 1 in Australia, and 1 in northwestern Europe. In total, 5 studies included adolescents, whereas the rest addressed children aged 9 to 12 years. Intervention duration ranged from 3 to 24 months. Significant differences between groups in BMI metric changes were reported by 5 of the 8 studies. Pooled analysis revealed an overall significant decrease in BMI metrics in the intervention group (standardized mean difference –0.61, 95% CI –1.10 to –0.13; P=.01). Subgroup analysis revealed that significance was lost in case of no parental involvement (standardized mean difference –0.36, 95% CI –0.83 to 0.11; P=.14). The small number of clinical trials found, the varying study quality, and the study heterogeneity are some limitations of this review. Conclusions: The studies reported herein describe functional and acceptable technology-based approaches, in addition to conventional treatments, to enhance weight loss in young populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30675
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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