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© Emily Fawcett, Michelle Helena Van Velthoven, Edward Meinert. Originally published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth (, 10.03.2020. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included. Background: Although there are many wearable devices available to help people lose weight and decrease the rising prevalence of obesity, the effectiveness of these devices in long-term weight management has not been established. Objective: This study aimed to systematically review the literature on using wearable technology for long-term weight loss in overweight and obese adults. Methods: We searched the following databases: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, EMBASE, Compendex, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Central, and Scopus. The inclusion criteria were studies that took measurements for a period of ≥1 year (long-term) and had adult participants with a BMI >24. A total of 2 reviewers screened titles and abstracts and assessed the selected full-text papers for eligibility. The risk of bias assessment was performed using the following tools appropriate for different study types: the Cochrane risk of bias tool, Risk Of Bias In Nonrandomized Studies-of Interventions, A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews, and 6 questions to trigger critical thinking. The results of the studies have been provided in a narrative summary. Results: We included five intervention studies: four randomized controlled trials and one nonrandomized study. In addition, we used insights from six systematic reviews, four commentary papers, and a dissertation. The interventions delivered by wearable devices did not show a benefit over comparator interventions, but overweight and obese participants still lost weight over time. The included intervention studies were likely to suffer from bias. Significant variances in objectives, methods, and results of included studies prevented meta-analysis. Conclusions: This review showed some evidence that wearable devices can improve long-term physical activity and weight loss outcomes, but there was not enough evidence to show a benefit over the comparator methods. A major issue is the challenge of separating the effect of decreasing use of wearable devices over time from the effect of the wearable devices on the outcomes. Consistency in study methods is needed in future long-term studies on the use of wearable devices for weight loss.

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Journal article


JMIR mHealth and uHealth

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