Pounds Off Digitally study: a randomized podcasting weight-loss intervention

Am J Prev Med. 2009 Oct;37(4):263-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.06.010.


Background: As obesity rates rise, new weight-loss methods are needed. Little is known about the use of podcasting (audio files for a portable music player or computer) to promote weight loss, despite its growing popularity.

Design: A 12-week RCT was conducted.

Setting/participants: The study sample comprised overweight men and women (BMI=25-40 kg/m(2); n=78) in the Raleigh-Durham NC area.

Intervention: In 2008, participants were randomly assigned to receive 24 episodes of a currently available weight-loss podcast (control podcast) or a weight-loss podcast based on social cognitive theory (SCT) designed by the researchers (enhanced podcast) for 12 weeks.

Main outcome measures: Weight was measured on a digital scale at baseline and follow-up. Both groups also completed questionnaires assessing demographic information, food intake, physical activity, and SCT constructs at the introductory and 12-week meetings. Additional questionnaires at the 12-week meeting assessed perceptions of the intervention.

Results: Data collection and analysis occurred in 2008 and intention-to-treat was used. Enhanced group participants (n=41) had a greater decrease in weight (-2.9+/-3.5 kg enhanced group vs -0.3+/-2.1 control group; p<0.001 between groups) and BMI (-1.0+/-1.2 kg/m(2) enhanced group vs -0.1+/-0.7 kg/m(2) control group; p<0.001 between groups) than the control group (n=37) and had greater weight-loss-related knowledge (p<0.05), elaboration (p<0.001), and user control (p<0.001) and less cognitive load (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the use of behavioral, theory-based podcasting may be an effective way to promote weight loss.

Trial registration: NCT00771095.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / methods
  • Communications Media
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00771095