Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kirsten Brandt
Obesity is an increasing drain on the resources of general practitioners, who have few effective options for treatment other than surgery and (often prohibitively expensive) personal dietician advice. This pilot project investigated the weight loss efficacy and the cost of an interactive internet-based weight loss program in a Danish medical center setting. The study comprised an initial weight loss period of approximately 4 months, consisting of frequent online consultations with a dietician and an exercise coach supported by electronic diaries and establishment of an online community, where the patients exchanged experiences with other users of the program. This was followed by a 16-month maintenance treatment providing less intensive counseling. Of 46 obese patients offered participation, 32 patients were enrolled in the study and 21 completed the full course. The mean weight at inclusion was 104 kg with a BMI of 36.4 kg/m2. After 4 months of treatment and an average of 17 consultations the participants lost on average 7.0 kg, p<0.001. During the 16-month maintenance period, the average weight did not change and 81% of the participants retained or increased their initial weight loss. The cost of the initial treatment was calculated as 165 DKK (approx. €22) per kg weight lost. These results indicate that e-mail consultations can produce comparable weight loss as conventional weight loss treatments in general practice at a lower cost, particularly for sustaining the weight loss over a longer period of time. The results of this preliminary uncontrolled study with few participants indicate that future randomized clinical trials with more participants comparing the e-consultations with relevant conventional practices are justified, in order to quantify effect and long term cost-efficiency of e-consultations as an intervention against obesity.
Author(s): Brandt V, Brandt CJ, Glintborg D, Arendal C, Toubro S, Brandt K
Publication type: Article
Journal: International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences
Issue: 1 & 2
ISSN (electronic): 1942-2660