- Weight loss through diet and exercise is only half the battle
- Half of the lost weight can be regained within a year
- A simple commitment text message could help keep the weight off
Overweight and obese people get into serious dieting and exercise programs to shed their extra kilos. But, the difficult task of a weight loss program
is to maintain the new weight. Most people who lose weight, eventually, regain half of the lost weight within a year. But a new study claims that a simple commitment text helped obese teenagers to keep their lost weight off. The text message reminded teenagers to eat a bowl of cereal or fruit for dessert to help them maintain their weight.
The rates of obesity
is increasing drastically among adolescents. Eighteen percent of the teenagers between the ages 12 and 19 are obese. Obesity increases the risk
for cardiovascular disease and reduces life expectancy.
‘Commitment text messages changed teenagers behavior and encouraged them to eat healthy to maintain their recent weight loss.’
The modern day
of living involves a gadget for almost all the activities. Everyone owns a
smartphone and the healthcare industries have targeted fitness and health
through mobile applications. But a simple text message
could also be beneficial to help someone become fit and healthy.
Commitment Text Messages
interventions that help people maintain weight loss are important. Weight is
commonly regained regardless of the interventions people use for weight loss,
whether it is exercise, diet or drugs. Simple text messages can change
teenagers' behavior and help them prevent regaining the lost kilos back.
Ivo Vlaev, Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, said, "Therefore, finding effective interventions to maintain the new lower weight is crucial for the long-term success of the interventions and their health. Stable weight in growing adolescents with obesity is associated with an improvement in cardiovascular risk factors and reduces the risk of them developing other problems due to obesity, such as diabetes
A 12-week pilot
trial was conducted among teenagers who attended an eight-week weight loss camp
offered by MoreLife. Teenagers who had achieved similar weight loss were split
into two groups of 13 and 14.
group one had lost 2.63 kilograms on an average. Participants in group one
received text messages that contained useful information such as advice about
weight loss management. Teenagers in group two had lost 2.32 kilograms on an
average. They received text messages asking them to commit to an action such
as: "Can you promise to eat 30 grams of cereals each morning before school?
Please text back CAMP followed by Yes or No to 8810."
messages to the commitment group were just a reminder. For example: "Are you
managing to eat cereals in the morning? Text back CAMP followed by Yes or No to
The findings of the study showed that the body mass index
(BMI) of commitment in the 'commitment group' remained the same. However, the BMI of teenagers in the 'information only group' increased. The analysis of the data showed that teenagers in the information group were nearly eight times more likely to regain the lost weight than those in the commitment group.
"The results of
the current trial with adolescents are clinically important and unique," said
devices are just one type of behavioral intervention healthcare workers can use
to help adolescents maintain their recent weight loss. The results of this study
are encouraging and are certainly worth exploring further as there could
serious health benefits for people trying to lose weight at very little extra
cost," added Professor Vlaev.
study, "The use of commitment techniques to support weight loss maintenance in
obese adolescents," is published in the European Health Psychology Society.