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Abstract

Novel interventions are needed to improve lifestyle and prevent non-communicable diseases, the leading cause of death and disability globally. This study aimed to systematically review, synthesize, and grade scientific evidence on effectiveness of novel information and communication technology to reduce non-communicable disease risk.

Methods and results

We systematically searched PubMed for studies evaluating the effect of Internet, mobile phone, personal sensors, or standalone computer software on diet, physical activity, adiposity, tobacco, or alcohol use. We included all interventional and prospective observational studies conducted among generally healthy adults published between January 1990 and November 2013. American Heart Association criteria were used to evaluate and grade the strength of evidence. From 8,654 abstracts, 224 relevant reports were identified. Internet and mobile interventions were most common. Internet interventions improved diet (N=20 studies) (Class IIa A), physical activity (N=33), adiposity (N=35), tobacco (N=22), and excess alcohol (N=47) (Class I A each). Mobile interventions improved physical activity (N=6) and adiposity (N=3) (Class I A each). Evidence limitations included relatively brief durations (generally <6 months, nearly always <1 year), heterogeneity in intervention content and intensity, and limited representation from middle/low‐income countries.

Conclusions

Internet and mobile interventions improve important lifestyle behaviors up to one year. This systematic review supports the need for long‐term interventions to evaluate sustainability.

Citation: 

Afshin A, Babalola D, Mclean M, Yu Z, Ma W, Chen C, Arabi M, Mozaffarian D. Information technology and lifestyle: a systematic evaluation of Internet and mobile interventions for improving diet, physical activity, obesity, tobacco, and alcohol use. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2016 Aug. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.003058.