Mobile apps for pediatric obesity prevention and treatment, healthy eating, and physical activity promotion: just fun and games?
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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.
KEYWORDSPediatric obesity Childhood Overweight Mobile apps Mobile health
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