Estelle Everett, MD; Brian Kane, MD; Ashley Yoo; Adrian Dobs, MHS, MD; Nestoras Mathioudakis, MHS, MD

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States

Reading Health Physician Network, Reading, PA, United States


Corresponding Author:

Nestoras Mathioudakis, MHS, MD

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Medicine

Johns Hopkins University 1830 E. Monument Street Suite 333

Baltimore, MD, 21287 United States

Phone: 1 410 502 8089

Fax: 1 410 367 2042



Background: Prediabetes is a high-risk state for the future development of type 2 diabetes, which may be prevented through physical activity (PA), adherence to a healthy diet, and weight loss. Mobile health (mHealth) technology is a practical and cost-effective method of delivering diabetes prevention programs in a real-world setting. Sweetch (Sweetch Health, Ltd) is a fully automated, personalized mHealth platform designed to promote adherence to PA and weight reduction in people with prediabetes.

Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to calibrate the Sweetch app and determine the feasibility, acceptability, safety, and effectiveness of the Sweetch app in combination with a digital body weight scale (DBWS) in adults with prediabetes.

Methods: This was a 3-month prospective, single-arm, observational study of adults with a diagnosis of prediabetes and body mass index (BMI) between 24 kg/m2 and 40 kg/m2. Feasibility was assessed by study retention. Acceptability of the mobile platform and DBWS were evaluated using validated questionnaires. Effectiveness measures included change in PA, weight, BMI, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and fasting blood glucose from baseline to 3-month visit. The significance of changes in outcome measures was evaluated using paired t test or Wilcoxon matched pairs test.

Results: The study retention rate was 47 out of 55 (86%) participants. There was a high degree of acceptability of the Sweetch app, with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) score of 78% (73%-80%) out of 100% on the validated System Usability Scale. Satisfaction regarding the DBWS was also high, with median (IQR) score of 93% (83%-100%). PA increased by 2.8 metabolic equivalent of task (MET)–hours per week (SD 6.8; P=.02), with mean weight loss of 1.6 kg (SD 2.5; P<.001) from baseline. The median change in A1c was −0.1% (IQR −0.2% to 0.1%; P=.04), with no significant change in fasting blood glucose (−1 mg/dL; P=.59). There were no adverse events reported.

Conclusions: The Sweetch mobile intervention program is a safe and effective method of increasing PA and reducing weight and HbA1c in adults with prediabetes. If sustained over a longer period, this intervention would be expected to reduce diabetes risk in this population.

Trial Registration: NCT02896010; (Archived by WebCite at

(J Med Internet Res 2018;20(2):e72)  doi:10.2196/jmir.9723