University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The effectiveness of automated digital health solutions at successfully managing obesity and obesity-associated disorders: A PICO-structured investigation

Price, James, Santos, H. O. and Bueno, Allain ORCID: (2022) The effectiveness of automated digital health solutions at successfully managing obesity and obesity-associated disorders: A PICO-structured investigation. Digital Health, 8. ISSN 2055-2076 Online ISSN: 2055-2076

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Most adults in the UK and USA are classified as overweight or obese. Recent studies suggest that the prevalence of obesity has further increased during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Digital technologies may be effective at managing obesity and related comorbidities, a potential further justified by social isolation and distancing circumstances.

This review of published literature employed a Patient-Intervention-Comparison-Outcome structured approach on the use of digital solutions to determine the effectiveness of their use in the management and treatment of obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes and included commercially available, automated devices and applications that did not require intervention from a clinician. Our search covered studies published between January 2004 and February 2019, and 18 papers were included in the final analysis. The digital solutions reviewed were smartphone applications, wearable activity trackers, and ‘digital medicine offerings’ (DMO), including ingestible sensors and wearable patches.

This study found that not all interventions were effective at encouraging the lifestyle changes required for the management of obesity. Smartphone applications requiring interaction from the patient appeared to be more effective at encouraging engagement with treatment interventions than more passive wearable activity trackers. Automated feedback from smartphone applications was effective at managing type 2 diabetes, while DMO were effective at reducing blood pressure.

With the advancement of new technologies alongside a rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity and associated disorders, further studies comparing the various technologies available in larger sample populations for longer periods would help determine the most cost-effective preventive and therapeutic strategies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: digital health, smartphone applications, wearable technology, digital medicine offerings, obesity, hypertension, diabetes
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: © The Author(s) 2022
Depositing User: Allain Bueno
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 07:55
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 08:59

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