Mobile phone apps can be an effective weapon in combating obesity after a new study revealed that they were more effective in helping overweight and obese people in losing weight compared to just sticking with a standard weight loss program.
According to researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, people lost more weight when they had personal digital assistants (PDAs) and combined them with occasional phone coaching and a weight loss program compared with just following a weight loss program.
The study involved around 69 overweight and obese people in their late 50s who had joined a weight loss clinic, half of whom were handed a PDA to keep track of the amount of food eaten and physical activity done while the other half followed the program specified by the clinic. The researchers found that those who had PDAs lost 10 pounds after six months compared to just two pounds in the other group during the same period.
"The number one mechanism through which people lose weight is self-monitoring, just watching what you eat and keeping a record of it. I'm actually very optimistic that people who are motivated, who can couple the technology with in-person counseling and management are going to be very successful", NorthShore University's Dr Goutham Rao, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said.