154506 Role of e-health in childhood obesity prevention and reduction

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 2:30 PM

Lan X. Le, MPH , Health e-Technologies Initiative, Boston, MA
Judith M. Phalen, MPH , Health e-Technologies Initiative, Boston, MA
Roberta Goldman, PhD , Center for Primary Care and Prevention, Brown University, Pawtucket, RI
Terry L. Bazzarre, PhD , The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ
David K. Ahern, PhD , Health e-Technologies Initiative, Boston, MA
Background: Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the US, especially amongst traditionally underserved communities, and novel partnerships between the health care industry and new media technologies may hold promising solutions. Methods: A panel of experts from the health care, technology/gaming, and obesity prevention/treatment fields was convened to identify opportunities and challenges to leveraging eHealth in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity for diverse populations. A modified-Delphi technique was employed with the aim of identifying areas of consensus as well as recommendations for further developing the role of eHealth in obesity prevention. The conference was audio taped and the transcript qualitatively analyzed via an immersion/crystallization technique with the help of NVivo 7 software. Results: Technology was recognized to be a powerful tool, already pervasive in children's environments and able to overcome many different barriers. Most experts were eager to adapt it for positive, healthy messaging and evidence-based behavioral change. Special interest was shown in the development of healthy video games and the potential of mobile technologies to deliver just-in-time interventions. Experts equally cautioned against the unintended consequences of its use. Major sub-themes were technology's perceived role in contributing to the obesity epidemic, with excessive screen time seen as the primary determinant, and needing to attend to issues of access and cultural relevance. Conclusions: There is enormous potential in media technologies to educate and assist children in preventing and treating obesity. Future interventions must take into account patterns and perceptions of technology use as well as scientific evidence.

Learning Objectives:
Identify opportunities and challenges to leveraging e-health for obesity prevention and treatment. Describe professional perspectives on potential technology use in health interventions.

Keywords: Obesity, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.