Long-term weight management using wearable technology in overweight and obese adults: A systematic review
Fawcett E., VAN VELTHOVEN M., BRINDLEY D., MEINERT E.
Background: Whilst there are many wearable devices available to help people losing weight and decrease the rising obesity prevalence, their effectiveness in long-term weight management has not been established. Objective: To systematically review the literature on using wearable technology for long-term weight loss in overweight and obese adults. Methods: We searched the following databases: Medline, Embase, Compendex - ScienceDirect, Cochrane Central, and Scopus. Studies were included that took measurements over a period of ≥1 year (long-term) and had adult participants with a BMI > 24. Two reviewers screened titles and abstracts and assessed selected full text papers for eligibility. Risk of bias assessment was done through the following tools appropriate for different study types: The Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool, ROBINS-I, AMSTAR, ‘6 Questions to Trigger Critical Thinking’. The results of the studies are provided in a narrative summary. Results: We included five intervention studies: four randomised controlled trials, and one non-randomized study. Also, we used insights from six systematic reviews, four commentary papers and a dissertation. The interventions delivered by wearable devices did not show a benefit over comparator interventions, but overweight and obese participants still lost weight over time. The included intervention studies were likely to suffer from bias. There was a range of conclusions between the included studies, due to differences in their objectives, methods, and results. Therefore, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis. Conclusions: This review showed some evidence that wearable devices can improve long-term physical activity and weight loss outcomes, but there was not enough evidence to show a benefit over comparator methods. A major issue is the challenge to separate the effect of decreasing use of wearable devices over time from the effect of the wearable devices on outcomes. Consistency in study methods is needed in future long-term studies into the use of wearable devices for weight loss.