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A novel interactive mobile health support system for pediatric obesity treatment: a randomized controlled feasibility trial

  • Johansson, Linnea1, 2
  • Hagman, Emilia1
  • Danielsson, Pernilla1
  • 1 Karolinska Institutet, CLINTEC, Novum, Blickagangen 6A, Huddinge, 141 57, Sweden , Huddinge (Sweden)
  • 2 Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden , Stockholm (Sweden)
Published Article
BMC Pediatrics
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12887-020-02338-9
Springer Nature


BackgroundIn order to achieve improved weight status, behavioral pediatric obesity treatment is resource intensive. Mobile Health (mHealth) is more accessible than standard care but effective approaches are scarce. Therefore, the aim of this feasibility trial was to study trial design, mHealth usage, compliance, and acceptability of a novel mHealth approach in pediatric obesity treatment.MethodsThis six-month parallel two-arm feasibility trial took place at three pediatric outpatient clinics in Stockholm, Sweden. Participants, 5–12 years, starting obesity treatment were randomized to using an mHealth support system as an addition to standard care (intervention) or to standard care alone (control). The intervention included daily self-monitoring of weight transferred to a mobile application (app) used by parents, a website in which clinicians could track treatment progress, prespecified treatment goals for change in degree of obesity shown in the app and on the website, and text message interactions between clinicians and parents. The main outcome was description of feasibility. Height and weight were measured at baseline, three, and 6 months to explore changes in body mass index standard deviation score (BMI SDS).ResultsOf 40 children eligible for inclusion, 28 agreed to participate (54% girls) and were randomized to intervention (n = 15) or control (n = 13). Weight was measured at home regularly throughout the entire trial period by 12/15 children in the intervention group. Attendance at appointments were better in the intervention group (p = 0.024). Both parents and clinicians had a positive experience and found the mHealth support system accessible. At 6 months the intervention group had a greater reduction of 0.24 units in BMI SDS than standard care (− 0.23 vs. 0.01, p = 0.002).ConclusionsThe mHealth support system was a feasible and innovative treatment approach which, in addition to standard care, generated better treatment results than standard care alone. Future research should evaluate the treatment effects over a longer follow-up time in a larger study sample.Trial registrationThis trial was retrospectively registered at, ID: NCT03380598, on November 8, 2017.

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