What is it about?

We wanted to know if it was effective to use technology to promote physical activity and healthy diets in developing countries. We found 15 research studies from 13 different countries from Asia, Europe, Latin- and South America and Africa. Most studies were done in Asia (esp. India). Most studies showed that technology was effective in helping people to eat healthier and/or be more active.

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Why is it important?

Many developing countries are now facing a problem with increasing chronic diseases. These diseases are, for example, diabetes and heart disease. It is very clear that many of these diseases can be avoided if people eat more healthily and are more active. But, at the moment many people in developing countries do not move much and eat too much sugar and fat. To help people living healthier it might be good to use modern technology like mobile phones and the Internet. This is a good idea because many people in developing countries use these technologies.


We think that this research was important because it showed that modern technology can be used to help people in developing countries live healthier. So, they could be used to avoid many diseases. One of the main problems is now to make sure that many people have access to such technology programs. In many cases research results don’t lead to helping more people, although this is important. Maybe in this case the problem is also that many developing countries have a lot of issues and helping people living healthier is not so important to them.

Dr Andre Matthias Müller
National University of Singapore

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The effectiveness of e-& mHealth interventions to promote physical activity and healthy diets in developing countries: A systematic review, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, October 2016, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1186/s12966-016-0434-2.
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