Marco Bardus, Jane Smith, Laya Samaha, Charles Abraham
European Journal of Public Health, 26(4), 602–10. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckw090
Publication year: 2016

Background: The use of Internet and related technologies for promoting weight management (WM), physical activity (PA), or dietary-related behaviours has been examined in many articles and systematic reviews. This overview aims to summarize and assess the quality of the review evidence specifically focusing on mobile and Web 2.0 technologies, which are the most utilized, currently available technologies.

Methods: Following a registered protocol (CRD42014010323), we searched 16 databases for articles published in English until 31 December 2014 discussing the use of either mobile or Web 2.0 technologies to promote WM or related behaviors, i.e. diet and physical activity (PA). Two reviewers independently selected reviews and assessed their methodological quality using the AMSTAR checklist. Citation matrices were used to determine the overlap among reviews.

Results: Forty-four eligible reviews were identified, 39 of which evaluated the effects of interventions using mobile or Web 2.0 technologies. Methodological quality was generally low with only 7 reviews (16%) meeting the highest standards. Suggestive evidence exists for positive effects of mobile technologies on weight-related outcomes and, to a lesser extent, PA. Evidence is inconclusive regarding Web 2.0 technologies.

Conclusions: Reviews on mobile and Web 2.0 interventions for WM and related behaviors suggest that these technologies can, under certain circumstances, be effective, but conclusions are limited by poor review quality based on a heterogeneous evidence base.