Emerging Technologies and Virtual Medicine in Obesity Management
- The management of obesity through technological means has shown benefits in recent years. These include treatment and follow-up strategies delivered through portable devices (e.g., mobile phones), web-based platforms (e.g., websites) and wearable tracking devices (e.g., pedometers).
- Technology-based interventions provide cost-effective, time-efficient and flexible options for the management of patients with obesity, either on their own or as an adjunct to conventional (face-to-face) care.
- The weight-loss benefits of technology-based interventions in the management of obesity have repeatedly been proven in the literature. However, there is insufficient data comparing these interventions to conventional (face-to-face) management. This prohibits us from forming firm conclusions about their comparative benefits in the management of patients living with obesity.
- Implementation of management strategies can be delivered through web-based platforms (e.g., online education on medical nutrition therapy and physical activity) or mobile devices (e.g., daily weight reporting through a smartphone phone application) in the management of obesity (Level 2a, Grade B).
- We suggest that healthcare providers incorporate individualized feedback and follow-up (e.g., personalized coaching or feedback via phone or email) into technology-based management strategies to improve weight loss outcomes (Level 4, Grade D).
- The use of wearable activity tracking technology should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy for weight loss (Level 1a, Grade A).
- Technology-based strategies can help you manage your health, both when used alone or when combined with conventional (face-to-face) obesity management approaches.
- There are multiple options for incorporating technology into your obesity management program, including through your portable device (e.g., mobile phone), a web-based platform (e.g., website) and/or a wearable tracking device (e.g., pedometer).
- In many cases, you may find technology-based strategies more convenient and time-efficient than face-to-face encounters with your health care provider. We suggest you discuss with your healthcare provider which options might work best for you.