Using telehealth to increase participation in weight maintenance programs

Academic Article


  • Objective: To compare weight regain, satisfaction, and convenience among three weight maintenance programs: telehealth, traditional classes, and no program. Research Methods and Procedures: This quasi-experimental study compared weight change, satisfaction, and convenience among three program types. The telehealth participants interacted with a registered dietitian (RD) through the web and e-mail, traditional program participants attended a traditional classroom program, and no program participants received no interaction. Eighty-seven subjects (14 men and 73 women) were enrolled in the study: 31 traditional, 31 telehealth, and 25 no program participants. Eligibility included participation in a community-based weight loss program (Colorado Weigh) and minimum 7% weight loss before enrollment. Results: Subject characteristics at baseline were as follows: age, 50 ±9.3 (standard deviation) years; height, 1.68 ± 0.09 m; weight, 80.5 ±18.4 kg, with no significant differences between groups. Over 6 months, the traditional group lost 0.5 ±4.3 kg, the telehealth group lost 0.6 ±2.5 kg, and the no program group gained 1.7 ±3.0 kg. Weight change among all three groups was significant (p = 0.02); no program participants gained significantly more weight than the telehealth and traditional groups. There were no differences in overall satisfaction between the telehealth and traditional groups (p = 0.43), but individuals in the tele-health group rated their program as more convenient compared with the traditional group (p = 0.0001). Discussion: These results show the usefulness of telehealth programs in long-term weight loss maintenance. They may be a useful alternative for those who successfully lose weight in a structured behavioral program but do not choose to participate in a formal behavioral weight loss maintenance program. Copyright © 2007 NAASO.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Haugen HA; Tran ZV; Wyatt HR; Barry MJ; Hill JO
  • Start Page

  • 3067
  • End Page

  • 3077
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 12