December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4)

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Wearable technology did not improve weight loss

Wearable technology that provides feedback on physical activity did not improve weight loss when added to a standard behavioural weight-loss intervention, this US randomised clinical trial found. A total of 470 overweight or obese participants (aged 18–35 years, 77% female) were randomised either to a standard behavioural weight-loss intervention (n = 233) or a technology-enhanced programme (n = 237). All subjects were placed on a low-calorie diet with prescribed increases in physical activity and group counselling. After six months, all participants were given telephone counselling, text-message prompts, and access to online study materials. Also at six months, those in the standard intervention group started online self-monitoring of their diet and physical activity; whereas those in the enhanced intervention group were provided with a wearable device to monitor physical activity as well as online self-monitoring of diet. After two years, participants in both the standard and enhanced groups had significant improvements in body composition, fitness, physical activity, and diet, with no significant difference between groups. Mean weight change after two years was actually lower in the standard (5.9 kg) than enhanced group (3.5 kg) (p = 0.02).

JAMA 2016; 316(11): 1161–1171. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.12858.


Occupational Health at Work December/January 2016/2017 (vol. 13/4) pp41