A review of efficacious technology-based weight-loss interventions: five key components

Telemed J E Health. 2010 Nov;16(9):931-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2010.0065.


Objective: Obesity is highly prevalent among American adults and has negative health and psychosocial consequences. The purpose of this article was to qualitatively review studies that used technology-based interventions for weight loss and to identify specific components of these interventions that are effective in facilitating weight loss.

Materials and methods: We conducted a narrow, qualitative review, focusing on articles published in the last 10 years that used an experimental or pre/posttest design and used a technology-based intervention for weight loss.

Results: Among the 21 studies reviewed, we identified the following five components that we consider to be crucial in technology-based weight-loss interventions that are successful in facilitating weight loss: self monitoring, counselor feedback and communication, social support, use of a structured program, and use of an individually tailored program.

Conclusions: Short-term results of technologically driven weight-loss interventions using these components have been promising, but long-term results have been mixed. Although more longitudinal studies are needed for interventions implementing these five components, the interface of technology and behavior change is an effective foundation of a successful, short-term weight-loss program and may prove to be the basis of long-term weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Directive Counseling
  • Feedback
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Medical Laboratory Science / instrumentation*
  • Medical Laboratory Science / methods
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Self Care
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*