Obesity is one of the major health problems in the U.S because it is usually a precursor to other health conditions. More than 70 percent of adults in the U.S are obese, and the only way they can live healthier lives is to first lose weight and practice healthier eating habits.
There exist many weight loss programs aimed at helping people to lose weight but they seem to be ineffective. However, scientists have conducted studies to determine the most efficient approach that will help more people to lose weight.
Scientists from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been looking into whether email or phone-based population health programs can be paired with online weight loss programs to achieve better results. This is the first time that this approach has been explored. The researchers found that combining the two approaches yielded superior results compared to using a single approach.
Patients enrolled in the joint program consisting of the online weight loss program d the phone or email-based population health programs experienced more weight loss in 12 months. Those in the individual program experienced less weight loss within the same duration of time. The study findings were recently published in the JAMA journal.
“Population health managers are already doing outreach to people who would benefit from weight loss, such as patients with hypertension or type 2 diabetes,” stated Heather Baer, a corresponding author in the study.
How researchers conducted the study
The study observed 840 patients between 2016 and 2019. All the participants in the study were overweight and either had diabetes or hypertension. The participants were divided into three groups. One group received general weight management information via email. The second group received emails with guidelines on progress reporting, activity trackers, and meal plans. The third group was the intervention group that received the combined intervention.
The researchers confirmed that the patients in the combination therapy had much better results although the pace of weight loss was slow. The researchers also noticed that subjects in the intervention group demonstrated sustained weight loss at 18 months even though their interventions seemed to stop after the 12th month.