Effectiveness and Feasibility of a Remote Lifestyle Intervention by Dietitians for Overweight and Obese Adults: Pilot Study

Haas, Karin; Hayoz, Stefanie; Maurer-Wiesner, Susanne (2019). Effectiveness and Feasibility of a Remote Lifestyle Intervention by Dietitians for Overweight and Obese Adults: Pilot Study JMIR mhealth and uhealth, 7(4), pp. 1-14. JMIR Publications Inc. 10.2196/12289

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BACKGROUND To tackle the problem of obesity and related diseases in Switzerland, cost-efficient, effective, and innovative primary health care interventions for weight management are required. In this context, Oviva has developed a scalable technology for registered dietitians to counsel overweight and obese patients via a mobile phone app. OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of weight loss counseling by dietitians using a mobile phone app for patients with overweight and obesity. METHODS In this pre- and posttest pilot study, overweight and obese adults participated in a 1-year behavioral intervention to lose weight through remote counseling by dietitians in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The study started in April 2016 and finished in May 2018. Participants received individual counseling through the app and the exchange with the dietitian focused on regular feedback on photo-based food log, motivation, and education. The contents were tailored to the individual lifestyle goal set. The predefined intensity of remote counseling decreased during the year. Group chat could be used. The outcomes examined were changes in weight (primary outcome), hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, body fat, and responses to a self-administered questionnaire with questions regarding participants' physical activity, dietary assessment, and health-related quality of life. Changes were tested at baseline, after 3 months, and after 12 months, as well as between the third and the 12th month. RESULTS In total, 36 women and 7 men, with a mean age of 40.6 years, participated and 36 participants completed the study. Median weight change after the first 12 weeks was -3.8 kg (range: -15 to 2.4 and P<.001), between week 12 and week 52 it was -1.1 kg (range: -9.7 to 7 and P=.08), and the median change during the entire period of intervention was -4.9 kg (range: -21.9 to 7.5 and P<.001). Furthermore, changes in BMI, waist circumference, body fat, and BP between baseline and 12 weeks and between baseline and 52 weeks were also significant. Significant changes in certain eating habits were also demonstrated (higher frequency of vegetable, fruit, and breakfast consumption and lower frequency of alcohol, sweet, and fat consumption). CONCLUSIONS In addition to the professional skills of a dietitian, a profession-specific app such as Oviva can provide effective support that meets the needs of dietitians and clients on the long path of behavioral change and sustainable weight reduction. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02694614; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02694614 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/76gYkGOIc).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Nutrition and Dietetics


Haas, Karin0000-0002-4797-0405;
Hayoz, Stefanie and
Maurer-Wiesner, Susanne


R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine




JMIR Publications Inc.




Karin Haas

Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2020 10:00

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:29

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