Digital Interventions on Healthy Lifestyle Management: Systematic Review

J Med Internet Res. 2021 Nov 17;23(11):e26931. doi: 10.2196/26931.


Background: Digital interventions have tremendous potential to improve well-being and health care conveyance by improving adequacy, proficiency, availability, and personalization. They have gained acknowledgment in interventions for the management of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, we are reviewing existing conceptual frameworks, digital intervention approaches, and associated methods to identify the impact of digital intervention on adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the impact of digital interventions on weight management in maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eg, regular physical activity, healthy habits, and proper dietary patterns).

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review to search the scientific databases (Nature, SpringerLink, Elsevier, IEEE Xplore, and PubMed) that included digital interventions on healthy lifestyle, focusing on preventing obesity and being overweight as a prime objective. Peer-reviewed articles published between 2015 and 2020 were included. We used the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines and a framework for an evidence-based systematic review. Furthermore, we improved the review process by adopting the Rayyan tool and the Scale for the Assessment of Narrative Review Articles.

Results: Our initial searches identified 780 potential studies through electronic and manual searches; however, 107 articles in the final stage were cited following the specified inclusion and exclusion criteria. The identified methods for a successful digital intervention to promote a healthy lifestyle are self-monitoring, self-motivation, goal setting, personalized feedback, participant engagement, psychological empowerment, persuasion, digital literacy, efficacy, and credibility. In this study, we identified existing conceptual frameworks for digital interventions, different approaches to provide digital interventions, associated methods, and execution challenges and their impact on the promotion of healthy lifestyle management.

Conclusions: This systematic literature review selected intervention principles (rules), theories, design features, ways to determine efficient interventions, and weaknesses in healthy lifestyle management from established digital intervention approaches. The results help us understand how digital interventions influence lifestyle management and overcome the existing shortcomings. It serves as a basis for further research with a focus on designing, developing, testing, and evaluating the generation of personalized lifestyle recommendations as a part of digital health interventions.

Keywords: challenges; digital intervention; eHealth; lifestyle; mobile phone; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Motivation
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight*