Buy Someone a Smart Phone, Help Them Lose Weight

Want to lose some weight? There’s an app for that.

But does it work?

According to a recent study from Northwestern University, yes. Yes it can. So long as it’s included in a comprehensive plan that includes cutting calories, increasing exercise, learning all the facts and being held accountable. Naturally, any weight loss program that incorporates all these facets is going to be successful. The kicker here is that the mobile app made the program even more successful.

Sixty-nine veteran adults all aged around 60 years old and without a lick of sense when it comes to both weight management and technology were signed into the study referred to as MOVE!. They all attended classes on nutrition and weight management twice a month for six months, and then once a month for another six months. Half of them tried to utilize what they were learning on their own. The other half were given a smart phone and taught how to use an app for tracking calories and exercise, and for giving instant advice on health decisions.

The help didn’t stop there, though. Those with the smart phones were also contacted by a health coach twice per month who had access to their eating and exercising records. Not only did he give advice and support on a regular basis, he kept them accountable to someone other than themselves to follow through.

As to be expected, after a year was over everyone was a little slimmer. However, those with the smart phone had lost an average of 8.5 pounds more than those without, around 15 in total. And keep in mind that it’s not just that they lost some weight in the course of a year. After all, a little more than a pound a month really isn’t that much. Sustaining that success for more than just a few weeks of a diet, however, is a more substantial result.

The study is proof that apps for weight loss can be beneficial, and even those who don’t even know how to print a document can learn to use them quickly and easily.

No word yet, however, on when Northwestern plans on delivering a free smart phone to every obese person in America.

The paper “Integrating Technology Into Standard Weight Loss Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine by Bonnie Spring, lead investigator of the study and a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


About bigkingken

A science writer dedicated to proving that the Big Ten - or the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, if you will - is more than athletics.
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