Personal exercise programmes have long been used and prescribed for weight loss and the improvement of quality of life in obese patients. While individualised programmes are usually the preferred option, they can be more costly and challenging to deliver in person. A move to digital programmes with a wider reach has commenced, and demand has increased due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In this review, we evaluate the current status of digital exercise programme delivery and its evolution over the past decade, with a focus on personalisation. We used specific keywords to search for articles that met our predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria in order to provide valuable evidence and insights for future research. We identified 55 studies in total in four key areas of focus, from the more recent development of apps and personal digital assistants to web-based programmes and text or phone call interventions. In summary, we observed that apps may be useful for a low-intensity approach and can improve adherence to programmes through self-monitoring, but they are not always developed in an evidence-based manner. Engagement and adherence are important determinants of weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance. Generally, professional support is required to achieve weight loss goals.
Keywords: digital health; e-health; m-health; obesity; weight loss