An evaluation of a smartphone–assisted behavioral weight control intervention for adolescents: Pilot study

Chad D. Jensen, Kristina M. Duncombe, Mark A. Lott, Sanita L. Hunsaker, Kara M. Duraccio, Susan J. Woolford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: The efficacy of adolescent weight control treatments is modest, and effective treatments are costly and are not widely available. Smartphones may be an effective method for delivering critical components of behavioral weight control treatment including behavioral self-monitoring. Objective: To examine the efficacy and acceptability of a smartphone assisted adolescent behavioral weight control intervention. Methods: A total of 16 overweight or obese adolescents (mean age=14.29 years, standard deviation=1.12) received 12 weeks of combined treatment that consisted of weekly in-person group behavioral weight control treatment sessions plus smartphone self-monitoring and daily text messaging. Subsequently they received 12 weeks of electronic-only intervention, totaling 24 weeks of intervention. Results: On average, participants attained modest but significant reductions in body mass index standard score (zBMI: 0.08 standard deviation units, t (13)=2.22, P=.04, d=0.63) over the in-person plus electronic-only intervention period but did not maintain treatment gains over the electronic-only intervention period. Participants self-monitored on approximately half of combined intervention days but less than 20% of electronic-only intervention days. Conclusions: Smartphones likely hold promise as a component of adolescent weight control interventions but they may be less effective in helping adolescents maintain treatment gains after intensive interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere102
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Electronic intervention
  • Obesity
  • Self-monitoring
  • Weight control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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