Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, with consequences lasting into adulthood. Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices have been studied and deployed for monitoring and tracking diet and physical activity of children and adolescents as well as a means of providing remote, ongoing support to children and their families. This review aimed to identify and understand current advances in the feasibility, system designs, and effectiveness of IoT-enabled devices to support weight management in children. We searched Medline, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, ProQuest Central and the IEEE Xplore Digital Library for studies published after 2010 using a combination of keywords and subject headings related to health activity tracking, weight management, youth and Internet of Things. The screening process and risk of bias assessment were conducted in accordance with a previously published protocol. Quantitative analysis was conducted for IoT-architecture related findings and qualitative analysis was conducted for effectiveness-related measures. Twenty-three full studies are included in this systematic review. The most used devices were smartphone/mobile apps (78.3%) and physical activity data (65.2%) from accelerometers (56.5%) were the most commonly tracked data. Only one study embarked on machine learning and deep learning methods in the service layer. Adherence to IoT-based approaches was low but game-based IoT solutions have shown better effectiveness and could play a pivotal role in childhood obesity interventions. Researcher-reported effectiveness measures vary greatly amongst studies, highlighting the importance for improved development and use of standardised digital health evaluation frameworks.



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PLOS Digital Health





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School of Nursing and Midwifery