Weight loss intervention for young adults using mobile technology: design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial - Cell Phone Intervention for You (CITY)

Contemp Clin Trials. 2014 Mar;37(2):333-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 21.


Background: The obesity epidemic has spread to young adults, leading to significant public health implications later in adulthood. Intervention in early adulthood may be an effective public health strategy for reducing the long-term health impact of the epidemic. Few weight loss trials have been conducted in young adults. It is unclear what weight loss strategies are beneficial in this population.

Purpose: To describe the design and rationale of the NHLBI-sponsored Cell Phone Intervention for You (CITY) study, which is a single center, randomized three-arm trial that compares the impact on weight loss of 1) a behavioral intervention that is delivered almost entirely via cell phone technology (Cell Phone group); and 2) a behavioral intervention delivered mainly through monthly personal coaching calls enhanced by self-monitoring via cell phone (Personal Coaching group), each compared to 3) a usual care, advice-only control condition.

Methods: A total of 365 community-dwelling overweight/obese adults aged 18-35 years were randomized to receive one of these three interventions for 24 months in parallel group design. Study personnel assessing outcomes were blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome is weight change at 24 [corrected] months. We hypothesize that each active intervention will cause more weight loss than the usual care condition. Study completion is anticipated in 2014.

Conclusions: If effective, implementation of the CITY interventions could mitigate the alarming rates of obesity in young adults through promotion of weight loss. ClinicalTrial.gov: NCT01092364.

Keywords: Behavioral intervention; Mobile health; Obesity; Technology; Weight loss; Young adult.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / instrumentation
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cell Phone*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Weight Loss*
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01092364