Integrating Technology Into Standard Weight Loss Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jan 28;173(2):105-11. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1221.

Abstract

Background: A challenge in intensive obesity treatment is making care scalable. Little is known about whether the outcome of physician-directed weight loss treatment can be improved by adding mobile technology.

Methods: We conducted a 2-arm, 12-month study (October 1, 2007, through September 31, 2010). Seventy adults (body mass index >25 and ≤40 [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared]) were randomly assigned either to standard-of-care group treatment alone (standard group) or to the standard and connective mobile technology system (+mobile group). Participants attended biweekly weight loss groups held by the Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic. The +mobile group was provided personal digital assistants to self-monitor diet and physical activity; they also received biweekly coaching calls for 6 months. Weight was measured at baseline and at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up.

Results: Sixty-nine adults received intervention (mean age, 57.7 years; 85.5% were men). A longitudinal intent-to-treat analysis indicated that the +mobile group lost a mean of 3.9 kg more (representing 3.1% more weight loss relative to the control group; 95% CI, 2.2-5.5 kg) than the standard group at each postbaseline time point. Compared with the standard group, the +mobile group had significantly greater odds of having lost 5% or more of their baseline weight at each postbaseline time point (odds ratio, 6.5; 95% CI, 2.5-18.6).

Conclusions: The addition of a personal digital assistant and telephone coaching can enhance short-term weight loss in combination with an existing system of care. Mobile connective technology holds promise as a scalable mechanism for augmenting the effect of physician-directed weight loss treatment.

Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00371462.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Technology
  • Telephone*
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs / methods*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00371462