People anticipating weight gain over the holiday season can look toward mobile technology to help them shed those extra pounds, suggests new research.
Patients in weight loss treatment programs lost more weight when they coupled nutritional coaching and exercise with prompts from mobile apps, reported Northwestern University researchers in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The Northwestern team assigned 69 overweight and obese patients to either a standard weight loss program or treatment that integrated mobile technology prompts for one year. They were issued weekly activity and caloric intake goals, and they weighed in at three-, six-, nine- and 12- month benchmarks.
The participants in the mobile program tracked their progress through an app on their smartphone, which shared their data with a behavioral coach who offered suggestions for reaching their weight-loss goals. The other group recorded their daily exercise and eating habits on paper.
More Interaction, Better Results
The patients who received coaching via the smartphone and attended at least 80 percent of the educational sessions offered lost an average of 15 pounds and kept it off throughout the year-long experiment.
Those who were coached but did not attend the informational meetings experienced an average weight loss of 8.6 pounds.
About one third of the participants in the mobile program lost at least 5 percent of their body weight during the first three months, while those in the control group lost nothing.
Participants in the control group who had an app but did not receive any additional education did not lose weight.
Find Your Own App
Mobile technologies are most effective in helping users reach fitness or weight-loss goals when they are combined with other methods — such as the health coaching offered in the Northwestern study, said Dixie Stanforth, professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin.
Although mobile technology was not singlehandedly responsible for enabling participants’ weight loss, it could be a helpful component of an overall treatment program, the Northwestern researchers stressed.
Culled from Tech News World