Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 320–325 | Cite as

Mobile apps for pediatric obesity prevention and treatment, healthy eating, and physical activity promotion: just fun and games?

  • Danielle E. Schoffman
  • Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy
  • Sonya J. Jones
  • Sara Wilcox


Mobile applications (apps) offer a novel way to engage children in behavior change, but little is known about content of commercially available apps for this population. We analyzed the content of apps for iPhone/iPad for pediatric weight loss, healthy eating (HE), and physical activity (PA). Fifty-seven apps were downloaded and tested by two independent raters. Apps were coded for: inclusion of the Expert Committee for Pediatric Obesity Prevention's (ECPOP) eight recommended strategies (e.g., set goals) and seven behavioral targets (e.g., do ≥1 h of PA per day), utilization of gaming elements, and general characteristics. Most apps lacked any expert recommendations (n = 35, 61.4 %). The mean number of recommendations among apps that used recommendations was 3.6 ± 2.7 out of 15, 56.1 % (n = 32) apps were classified as games, and mean price per app was $1.05 ± 1.66. Most apps reviewed lacked expert recommendations and could be strengthened by addition of comprehensive information about health behavior change and opportunities for goal setting.


Pediatric obesity Childhood Overweight Mobile apps Mobile health 



No funding was received for this research.

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

13142_2013_206_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (28 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 27.6 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle E. Schoffman
    • 1
  • Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sonya J. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sara Wilcox
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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