Internet interventions to support lifestyle modification for diabetes management: a systematic review of the evidence

J Diabetes Complications. Mar-Apr 2014;28(2):243-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Dec 12.


Background: The Internet presents a widely accessible, 24-h means to promote chronic disease management. The objective of this review is to identify studies that used Internet based interventions to promote lifestyle modification among adults with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: We searched PubMed using the terms: [internet, computer, phone, smartphone, mhealth, mobile health, web based, telehealth, social media, text messages] combined with [diabetes management and diabetes control] through January 2013. Studies were included if they described an Internet intervention, targeted adults with type 2 diabetes, focused on lifestyle modification, and included an evaluation component with behavioral outcomes.

Results: Of the 2803 papers identified, nine met inclusion criteria. Two studies demonstrated improvements in diet and/or physical activity and two studies demonstrated improvements in glycemic control comparing web-based intervention with control. Successful studies were theory-based, included interactive components with tracking and personalized feedback, and provided opportunities for peer support. Website utilization declined over time in all studies that reported on it. Few studies focused on high risk, underserved populations.

Conclusion: Web-based strategies provide a viable option for facilitating diabetes self-management. Future research is needed on the use of web-based interventions in underserved communities and studies examining website utilization patterns and engagement over time.

Keywords: EHealth; Internet interventions; Lifestyle modification; Self-management; Systematic review; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Life Style*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Self Care / methods
  • Telemedicine / methods*