Telehealth-based weight loss programs show promising results

A new study published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare shows a telehealth program involving video coaching and self-monitoring with mHealth devices could be an effective way for helping obese patients lose weight.

A team of researchers, led by Michelle Alencar, PhD, examined 25 obese participants — 12 of whom were men and 13 of whom were women — as they participated in a 12-week, online weight loss program. All participants were given access to a data tracking and video conferencing platform, but an intervention group met with the study physician once a month and a registered dietitian each week. A control group only met with the researchers at the study's start and end.

Nine out of 13 participants in the intervention group achieved clinically significant weight loss, defined as losing at least 5 percent of their initial body weight within a six-month period.  However, clinically significant weight loss was only achieved by one individual in the control group.

"Mobile phone-based health coaching may promote weight loss," the study authors concluded. "Weekly video conferencing with education may be an applicable tool for inducing significant body weight loss in obese individuals."

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