Electronic Health Lifestyle Coaching Among Diabetes Patients in a Real-Life Municipality Setting: Observational Study

JMIR Diabetes. 2019 Mar 12;4(1):e12140. doi: 10.2196/12140.


Background: Internet and mobile interventions aiming to promote healthy lifestyle have attracted much attention because of their scalability and accessibility, low costs, privacy and user control, potential for use in real-life settings, as well as opportunities for real-time modifications and interactive advices. A real-life electronic health (eHealth) lifestyle coaching intervention was implemented in 8 Danish municipalities between summer 2016 and summer 2018.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effects associated with the eHealth intervention among diabetes patients in a real-life municipal setting. The eHealth intervention is based on an initial meeting, establishing a strong empathic relationship, followed by digital lifestyle coaching and collaboration supported by a Web-based community among patients.

Methods: We conducted an observational study examining the effect of an eHealth intervention on self-reported weight change among 103 obese diabetes patients in a real-life municipal setting. The patients in the study participated in the eHealth intervention between 3 and 12 months. A weight change was observed at 6, 9, and 12 months. We used regression methods to estimate the impacts of the intervention on weight change.

Results: We found that the eHealth intervention significantly reduced weight among diabetes patients, on average 4.3% of the initial body mass, which corresponds to 4.8 kg over a mean period of 7.3 months. Patients who were in intervention for more than 9 months achieved a weight reduction of 6.3% or 6.8 kg.

Conclusions: This study brings forward evidence of a positive effect of a real-life eHealth lifestyle intervention on diabetes patients' lifestyle in a municipal setting. Future research is needed to show if the effect is sustainable from a long-term perspective.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; eHealth; healthy lifestyles; obesity; weight reduction.