The Potential Role of Digital Health in Obesity Care

Hinchliffe, Nigel, Feenie, John, Capehorn, Matthew S and Bewick, Michael (2022) The Potential Role of Digital Health in Obesity Care. Advances in Therapy . ISSN 0741-238X

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Obesity is a complex, multi-factorial, chronic condition which increases the risk of a wide range of diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. The prevalence of obesity continues to rise and this places a huge economic burden on the healthcare system. Existing approaches to obesity treatment tend to focus on individual responsibility and diet and exercise, failing to recognise the complexity of the condition and the need for a whole-system approach. A new approach is needed that recognises the complexity of obesity and provides patient-centred, multidisciplinary care which more closely meets the needs of each individual with obesity. This review will discuss the role that digital health could play in this new approach and the challenges of ensuring equitable access to digital health for obesity care. Existing technologies, such as telehealth and mobile health apps and wearable devices, offer emerging opportunities to improve access to obesity care and enhance the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of weight management interventions and long-term patient support. Future application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to obesity care could see interventions become increasingly automated and personalised.

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