Effects of an abbreviated obesity intervention supported by mobile technology: The ENGAGED randomized clinical trial

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Jul;25(7):1191-1198. doi: 10.1002/oby.21842. Epub 2017 May 11.


Objective: To determine the effects on weight loss of three abbreviated behavioral weight loss interventions with and without coaching and mobile technology.

Methods: A randomized controlled efficacy study of three 6-month weight loss treatments was conducted in 96 adults with obesity: 1) self-guided (SELF), 2) standard (STND), or 3) technology-supported (TECH). STND and TECH received eight in-person group treatment sessions. SELF and STND used paper diaries to self-monitor diet, activity, and weight; TECH used a smartphone application with social networking features and wireless accelerometer.

Results: Weight loss was greater for TECH and STND than SELF at 6 months (-5.7 kg [95% confidence interval: -7.2 to -4.1] vs. -2.7 kg [95% confidence interval: -5.1 to -0.3], P < 0.05) but not 12 months. TECH and STND did not differ except that more STND (59%) than TECH (34%) achieved ≥ 5% weight loss at 6 months (P < 0.05). Self-monitoring adherence was greater in TECH than STND (P < 0.001), greater in both interventions than SELF (P < 0.001), and covaried with weight loss (r(84) = 0.36-0.51, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Abbreviated behavioral counseling can produce clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of whether self-monitoring is performed on paper or smartphone, but long-term superiority over standard of care self-guided treatment is challenging to maintain.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01051713.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Smartphone*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01051713