IT-Based Self-Monitoring Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Weight Loss: A Meta-Analysis of Change-from-Baseline Effects

AbstractIT-based self-monitoring (ITSM) has attracted increasing interest as a strategy for chronic disease self-management and day-to-day fitness promotion. Despite the increasing popularity of various self-monitoring technologies such as fitness trackers and biosensors, their effectiveness is less certain. The objective of the current review is to determine the effectiveness of ITSM interventions on two types of key chronic care outcomes: weight management and physical activity. A systematic review employing a meta-analysis identified 42 ITSM studies that report change-from-baseline effects on weight and physical activity-related outcomes. Overall, a small effect size is found for body weight, BMI, waist circumferences, and step-based physical activity. The effect estimates on time-based physical activity are moderate. However, the effects on physical activity show variability and potential publication bias. A post-hoc analysis of the effects of ITSM on self-efficacy exhibit a small yet significant effect size, which shows the potential mediating role of patients’ psychological outcomes on the ultimate behavioral outcomes. In summary, ITSM is a potentially useful approach to manage weight and physical activity. Further study is needed to determine the source of heterogeneity as well as the types of ITSM interventions that are effective for weight, physical activity, but also other chronic care outcomes.

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