Mobile app-based health promotion programs: A systematic review of the literature

Mikyung Lee, Hyeonkyeong Lee, Youlim Kim, Junghee Kim, Mikyeong Cho, Jaeun Jang, Hyoeun Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the features and usefulness of mobile app-based health promotion programs for the general population. A comprehensive bibliographic search of studies on health promotion programs using mobile apps in peer-reviewed journals published in English up to November 2017 was performed using the PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL databases. The inclusion criteria were (1) randomized control trial designs; (2) assessed mobile app-based interventions to promote adult health conditions; 12 studies were ultimately included. The most common topics were diet and physical activity (n = 8) and overall healthy lifestyle improvement (n = 4). The purpose of the apps included providing feedback on one’s health status (n = 9) and monitoring individual health status or behavior change (n = 9). Across all studies, health outcomes were shown to be better for mobile app users compared to non-users. Mobile app-based health interventions may be an effective strategy for improving health promotion behaviors in the general population without diseases. This study suggests that mobile app use is becoming commonplace for a variety of health-promoting behaviors in addition to physical activity and weight control. Future research should address the feasibility and effectiveness of using mobile apps for health promotion in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2838
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 13

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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