Research: Digital support can help with fat loss


Digital online support can help assist with weight loss.  



 Weight loss interventions tend to be more successful if they are started early before obesity is attained.  In our society today, young men and women are gaining weight rapidly.  If we could implement an intervention that would prevent weight gain before it occurs or early in the weight gain process, we could make a huge difference in the quality of life in the medical expenditures of our society.  The problem is that evidence of effective weight control interventions targeting young men and women is lacking.  This lacking is unfortunate because intervention at this stage in life could make the biggest impact on both these individuals and society as a whole.

  In 2018, a randomized controlled study was completed to assess the efficacy and acceptability of a six-month targeted and tailored electronic weight loss program for young women[1].  Th Be Positive Be Healthe study looked at a group of 57 female subjects between the ages of 18 to 35 years of age who were randomized into either a test group or control group.  The intervention or test group was supported with education on a modified diet and exercise program or behaviors using evidence-based strategies that were tailored to each participant using an electronic health website, social media, smartphone application, email, and text messages.  The primary outcome that was followed in the study was the change in weight at the six-month mark.  Although the researchers found no difference in the change and body weight, there was a significant decrease in body fat in the test group.

The bottom line: The intervention found that digital interventions were an acceptable means to implement healthy changes. Digital online support facilitated positive improvements in body fat and dietary intake, but not weight.  It may be time for more development of more digital support apps on Facebook and smartphones targeting young women.  There is no reason to believe that this positive effect would be limited to just women.


M. Hutchesson et al., “A Targeted and Tailored eHealth Weight Loss Program for Young Women: The Be Positive Be Health<i>e</i> Randomized Controlled Trial.,” Healthcare (Basel), vol. 6, no. 2, May 2018. [PubMed]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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