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Physical activity and weight maintenance

the utility of wearable devices and mobile health technology in research and clinical settings

Riffenburg, Kaitlyn M.a; Spartano, Nicole L.b

Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity: October 2018 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 310–314
doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000433
OBESITY AND NUTRITION: Edited by Caroline M. Apovian

Purpose of review The integration of wearable devices and mobile health (mHealth) technology to facilitate behavior change has the potential to transform the efficacy of interventions and implementation programs for weight maintenance. The purpose of this review was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the overall utility of wearable devices for assessing and promoting weight maintenance in research and clinical settings.

Recent findings Recent intervention trials using wearable devices have been successful in increasing physical activity and decreasing or maintaining body weight, but complex study designs involving multiple behavioral strategies make it difficult to assess whether wearable devices can independently influence weight status. The daily feedback that wearable devices and mHealth technology provide may assist in motivating higher levels of physical activity achievement. However, the integration of wearable devices into the healthcare setting and implementation of mHealth programs still need to be tested.

Summary Recent studies add concrete implications for providers and researchers to better assess and promote physical activity in healthcare settings by identifying how wearable devices can be advantageous for physical activity and health promotion.

aBoston University School of Public Health

bSection of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Nutrition, and Weight Management, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Nicole L. Spartano, PhD, Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Nutrition & Weight Management, Boston University School of Medicine, 720 Harrison Avenue, Doctors Office Building, Suite 8100, Boston, MA 02118, USA. Tel: +1 315 415 2040; e-mail:

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