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J Med Internet Res. 2005 Dec 20;7(5):e58.

Mobile eHealth interventions for obesity: a timely opportunity to leverage convergence trends.

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Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195-7240, USA.


Obesity is often cited as the most prevalent chronic health condition and highest priority public health problem in the United States. There is a limited but growing body of evidence suggesting that mobile eHealth behavioral interventions, if properly designed, may be effective in promoting and sustaining successful weight loss and weight maintenance behavior changes. This paper reviews the current literature on the successes and failures of public health, provider-administered, and self-managed behavioral health interventions for weight loss. The prevailing theories of health behavior change are discussed from the perspective of how this knowledge can serve as an evidence base to inform the design of mobile eHealth weight loss interventions. Tailored informational interventions, which, in recent years, have proven to be the most effective form of conventional health behavior intervention for weight loss, are discussed. Lessons learned from the success of conventional tailored informational interventions and the early successes of desktop computer-assisted self-help weight management interventions are presented, as are design principles suggested by Social Cognitive Theory and the Social Marketing Model. Relevant computing and communications technology convergence trends are also discussed. The recent trends in rapid advancement, convergence, and public adoption of Web-enabled cellular telephone and wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) devices provide timely opportunities to deliver the mass customization capabilities, reach, and interactivity required for the development, administration, and adoption of effective population-level eHealth tailored informational interventions for obesity.

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