Mobile Health Messages are valuable in Weight Maintenance

Weight loss programs are now not limited to primary health care providers’ clinics. Community groups, web based groups and even mobile apps have been developed to make use of team effort in perpetuating weight loss.

Weight loss is one scene while weight maintenance is a whole new story. Weight maintenance gets difficult as it is human nature to develop a lax attitude once the goal is achieved. In such times a gentle reminder to refocus and a little motivation does the trick.

This study shows how daily mobile health messages can help sustain weight loss.

What happened in this study?

120 individuals who had lost 5% of their body weight recently were recruited for this study. They received a mobile health message daily at 8 am for 30 days. The study lasted for 3 months.

The health messages were focussed on regular physical activity, healthy low calorie diet and self monitoring weight with behaviours required for maintaining weight.

The messages were of three types: promotion based, prevention based and attention based. Promotion based were focussed on rewarding and promoting success while prevention based was focussed on advice to avoid failure and temptations.

What was the outcome?

Sustained weight loss was more than 87% for all three groups. Sustained weight loss rate at 3 months was 90% for control group, 95% for promotion and 100% for prevention. Average weight loss at 3 months was 15 pounds for prevention and promotion groups and 10 pounds for control group.

How did this occur?

Diet, exercise and health are highly instrumental in weight loss journey. But losing weight can also be considered as a goal to be achieved towards healthier living. Acording to regulatory focus theory individuals use either:

  • Approach based strategy- using success to reach a goal
  • Avoidance based strategy- preventing failure while achieving a goal

This study examines the impact of both these strategies in the form of mobile health messages. Mobiles form a convenient platform that can be used to readily access general public and deliver such health messages.

In fact participants were happy to receive such messages at 8 am since they felt highly motivated throughout the day and these messages helped them to overcome shortcomings and stay focussed on their goal.

What does this mean?

Mobile based and internet based weight loss programs are effective in aiding in weight maintenance especially through regular health messages and reminders. Motivation can play a great role in weight loss and maintenance.

Such interventions can definitely help those individuals who were enrolled in weight loss programs and now need to maintain their focus in order to maintain weight. Live a ‘healthy’ life to its fullest.

Read full paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820279/

 

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