Background: Weight regain after intentional loss is common. Most evidence-based weight management programs focus on short-term loss rather than long-term maintenance.
Objective: To evaluate the benefit of coaching in an electronic health record (EHR)-based weight maintenance intervention.
Design: Randomized controlled trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01946191).
Setting: Practices affiliated with an academic medical center.
Participants: Adult outpatients with body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or higher, intentional weight loss of at least 5% in the previous 2 years, and no bariatric procedures in the previous 5 years.
Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to EHR tools (tracking group) versus EHR tools plus coaching (coaching group). The EHR tools included weight, diet, and physical activity tracking flow sheets; standardized surveys; and reminders. The coaching group received 24 months of personalized coaching through the EHR patient portal, with 24 scheduled contacts.
Measurements: The primary outcome was weight change at 24 months. Secondary outcomes included 5% weight loss maintenance and changes in BMI, waist circumference, number of steps per day, health-related quality of life, physical function, blood pressure, and satisfaction.
Results: Among 194 randomly assigned participants (mean age, 53.4 years [SD, 12.2]; 143 [74%] women; 171 [88%] white), 157 (81%) completed the trial. Mean baseline weight and BMI were 85.8 kg (SD, 19.1) and 30.4 kg/m2 (SD, 5.9). At 24 months, mean weight regain (± SE) was 2.1 ± 0.62 kg and 4.9 ± 0.63 kg in the coaching and tracking groups, respectively. The between-group difference in weight change at 24 months was significant (-2.86 kg [95% CI, -4.60 to -1.11 kg]) in the linear mixed model. At 24 months, 65% of participants in the coaching group and 50% in the tracking group maintained weight loss of at least 5%.
Limitation: Single-site trial, which limits generalizability.
Conclusion: Among adults with intentional weight loss of at least 5%, use of EHR tools plus coaching resulted in less weight regain than EHR tools alone.
Primary funding source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and National Institutes of Health.