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Retraining Device Helps Obese Children Change Eating Habits

Computerized scale gives real-time feedback on portion size and speed of eating

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A computerized device can help obese adolescents change their eating habits, and is a useful adjunct to lifestyle changes to lose weight, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in BMJ.

Anna L. Ford, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a study of 106 obese children aged 9 to 17 years who were randomized to use the Mandometer, a portable computerized weighing scale, developed by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, that provides real-time feedback during meals showing how quickly food disappears from the plate. The control group was assigned to standard lifestyle modification only.

The study ran for 12 months, by which time the intervention group had a significantly lower mean body mass index than the control group, the researchers found. The mean meal size in the intervention group was 45 g smaller than at the start of the study, and they also had significantly lower mean body fat standard deviation scores, the investigators note.

"Further studies are warranted in younger children and adults and as a weight maintenance device after interventions such as laparoscopic gastric banding surgery, when adjustment of speed of eating and portion size can be extremely important," the authors write. "In broader terms, our study provides additional evidence that interventions specifically addressing eating behaviors might be useful in obesity therapy."

Authors of the study reported financial ties to companies associated with the Mandometer.

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