Efficacy of Clinic-Based Telehealth vs. Face-to-Face Interventions for Obesity Treatment in Children and Adolescents in the United States and Canada: A Systematic Review

Andrea Whitley, Najat Yehia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

<b><i>Background:</i></b> Childhood obesity is an ever-growing public health concern in the United States and globally. By 2030, it is estimated that 70% of the world's population of children and adolescents will be obese. Therefore, efforts to reduce childhood obesity are of utmost importance, particularly with the current coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, as rates are expected to soar due to social distancing measures and restrictions. This systematic review aims to examine the literature regarding the effectiveness of clinic-based telehealth vs. face-to-face modalities to reduce obesity among school-aged children.<br><b><i>Methods:</i></b> An electronic database search of articles published in English over the last 10 years was undertaken in PubMed, Medline, and CINAHL. Key terms used to identify studies included school-aged children and adolescents with overweight and obesity in clinic-based weight management interventions conducted face-to-face or via telehealth, and having efficacy determined through changes in measured child BMI as primary outcomes and dietary and physical activity changes, as well as assessing feasibility and satisfaction with telehealth, as secondary outcomes.<br><b><i>Results:</i></b> Out of 1093 articles identified, 10 met the inclusion criteria. While both telehealth and face-to-face weight management interventions are effective in reducing obesity in children and adolescents, the evidence is lacking in which is more effective. Of the 10 studies, 5 showed outcome improvements when both telehealth and face-to-face interventions were combined as adjunct therapies.<br><b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> Findings support using telehealth in conjunction with face-to-face visits for obesity treatment among children and adolescents. However, more research involving telehealth weight management interventions for young children is recommended.<br><br>
Original languageEnglish
JournalChildhood Obesity/Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 29 2021

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