The Effect of Technology-Mediated Diabetes Prevention Interventions on Weight: A Meta-Analysis

J Med Internet Res. 2017 Mar 27;19(3):e76. doi: 10.2196/jmir.4709.


Background: Lifestyle interventions targeting weight loss, such as those delivered through the Diabetes Prevention Program, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Technology-mediated interventions may be an option to help overcome barriers to program delivery, and to disseminate diabetes prevention programs on a larger scale.

Objective: We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of such technology-mediated interventions on weight loss.

Methods: In this meta-analysis, six databases were searched to identify studies reporting weight change that used technology to mediate diet and exercise interventions, and targeted individuals at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Studies published between January 1, 2002 and August 4, 2016 were included.

Results: The search identified 1196 citations. Of those, 15 studies met the inclusion criteria and evaluated 18 technology-mediated intervention arms delivered to a total of 2774 participants. Study duration ranged from 12 weeks to 2 years. A random-effects meta-analysis showed a pooled weight loss effect of 3.76 kilograms (95% CI 2.8-4.7; P<.001) for the interventions. Several studies also reported improved glycemic control following the intervention. The small sample sizes and heterogeneity of the trials precluded an evaluation of which technology-mediated intervention method was most efficacious.

Conclusions: Technology-mediated diabetes prevention programs can result in clinically significant amounts of weight loss, as well as improvements in glycaemia in patients with prediabetes. Due to their potential for large-scale implementation, these interventions will play an important role in the dissemination of diabetes prevention programs.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, type 2; meta-analysis; prediabetic state; technology; weight reduction programs.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Weight Loss / physiology*