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Technological Interventions Aid Weight Loss in Primary Care

Interventions using a clinician's feedback achieve better results

THURSDAY, Sept. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to usual care, technology-assisted weight loss interventions in the primary care setting help patients achieve more weight loss, according to research published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

David Levine, M.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials employing technology-assisted weight loss interventions specifically tested in primary care settings.

The researchers found that of the 16 included trials, 12 interventions achieved weight loss compared with controls. In those studies, 5 to 45 percent of patients lost at least 5 percent of baseline weight. Trial duration ranged from three to 36 months, and attrition ranged from 6 to 80 percent. At least one year of follow-up was included in 10 studies. Interventions used medical doctors (44 percent), web-based applications (63 percent), and self-monitoring (81 percent). Interventions that included a clinician component appeared to promote more weight loss than did fully automated interventions. Publicly available technologies were evaluated in only two studies.

"Longitudinal, pragmatic, interdisciplinary, and open-source interventions are needed," the authors write.

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