The use of smartphones to influence lifestyle changes in overweight and obese youth with congenital heart disease: A single-arm study
Pilot and Feasibility Studies
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Background: Both obesity and congenital heart disease (CHD) are risk factors for the long-term cardiovascular health of children and adolescents. The addition of smart mobile technology to conventional lifestyle counseling for weight management offers great potential to appeal to technologically literate youth and can address a large geographical area with minimal burden to participants. This pilot study seeks to examine the influence of a 1-year lifestyle intervention on nutrition and physical activity-related health outcomes in overweight or obese children and adolescents with CHD. Methods: This is a pilot and feasibility study which utilizes a single-arm, prospective design with a goal to recruit 40 overweight and obese patients. The feasibility metrics will evaluate the integrity of the study protocol, data collection and questionnaires, recruitment and consent, and acceptability of the intervention protocol and primary outcome measures. The primary clinical outcome metrics are anthropometry, body composition, and cardiorespiratory exercise capacity. The secondary clinical metrics include quality of life, nutrition and physical activity behavior, lung and muscle function, and cardio-metabolic risk factors. Outcomes are assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year. To date, a total of 36 children and youth (11 girls), aged 7-17 years (mean = 14.4 years), have commenced the intervention. Recruitment for the study was initiated in June 2012 and is currently ongoing. Discussion: The information provided in this paper is intended to help researchers and health professionals with the development and evaluation of similar lifestyle intervention programs. Since the application of smartphones to pediatric cardiac health and obesity management is a novel approach, and continued research in this area is warranted, this paper may serve as a foundation for further exploration of this health frontier and inform the development of a broader strategy for obesity management in pediatric cardiology.