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A Systematic Review of Digital Interventions for Improving the Diet and Physical Activity Behaviors of Adolescents

  • Taylor Rose
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Taylor Rose, M.Sc., MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom.
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Mary Barker
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom

    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Chandni Maria Jacob
    Affiliations
    Academic Unit of Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Leanne Morrison
    Affiliations
    Academic Unit of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Wendy Lawrence
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom

    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Sofia Strömmer
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Christina Vogel
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom

    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Kathryn Woods-Townsend
    Affiliations
    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

    Southampton Education School, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • David Farrell
    Affiliations
    Glasgow Caledonian University, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow, United Kingdom
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  • Hazel Inskip
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom

    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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  • Janis Baird
    Affiliations
    MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom

    NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
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      Abstract

      Many adolescents have poor diet and physical activity behaviors, which can lead to the development of noncommunicable diseases in later life. Digital platforms offer inexpensive means of delivering health interventions, but little is known about their effectiveness. This systematic review was conducted to synthesize evidence on the effectiveness of digital interventions to improve diet quality and increase physical activity in adolescents, to effective intervention components and to assess the cost-effectiveness of these interventions. Following a systematic search, abstracts were assessed against inclusion criteria, and data extraction and quality assessment were performed for included studies. Data were analyzed to identify key features that are associated with significant improvement in behavior.
      A total of 27 studies met inclusion criteria. Most (n = 15) were Web site interventions. Other delivery methods were text messages, games, multicomponent interventions, emails, and social media. Significant behavior change was often seen when interventions included education, goal setting, self-monitoring, and parental involvement. None of the publications reported cost-effectiveness. Due to heterogeneity of studies, meta-analysis was not feasible.It is possible to effect significant health behavior change in adolescents through digital interventions that incorporate education, goal setting, self-monitoring, and parental involvement. Most of the evidence relates to Web sites and further research into alternate media is needed, and longer term outcomes should be evaluated. There is a paucity of data on the cost-effectiveness of digital health interventions, and future trials should report these data.

      Keywords

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