Cross-National Outcomes of a Digital Weight Loss Intervention in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, and Australia and New Zealand: A Retrospective Analysis

Front Public Health. 2021 Jun 10;9:604937. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.604937. eCollection 2021.


Mobile health (mHealth) interventions are ubiquitous and effective treatment options for obesity. There is a widespread assumption that the mHealth interventions will be equally effective in other locations. In an initial test of this assumption, this retrospective study assesses weight loss and engagement with an mHealth behavior change weight loss intervention developed in the United States (US) in four English-speaking regions: the US, Australia and New Zealand (AU/NZ), Canada (CA), and the United Kingdom and Ireland (UK/IE). Data for 18,459 participants were extracted from the database of Noom's Healthy Weight Program. Self-reported weight was collected every week until program end (week 16). Engagement was measured using user-logged and automatically recorded actions. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate change in weight over time, and ANOVAs evaluated differences in engagement. In all regions, 27.2-33.2% of participants achieved at least 5% weight loss by week 16, with an average of 3-3.7% weight loss. Linear mixed models revealed similar weight outcomes in each region compared to the US, with a few differences. Engagement, however, significantly differed across regions (P < 0.001 on 5 of 6 factors). Depending on the level of engagement, the rate of weight loss over time differed for AU/NZ and UK/IE compared to the US. Our findings have important implications for the use and understanding of digital weight loss interventions worldwide. Future research should investigate the determinants of cross-country engagement differences and their long-term effects on intervention outcomes.

Keywords: cross-country mHealth outcomes; digital health (eHealth); eHealth; mHealth (mobile Health); obesity; weight loss intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • New Zealand
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Weight Loss*