Adding Telephone and Text Support to an Obesity Management Program Improves Behavioral Adherence and Clinical Outcomes

A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial

Emily Lewis, Hsin Chia Carol Huang, Peter Hassmén, Marijke Welvaert, Kate L. Pumpa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Behavioral treatment strategies improve adherence to lifestyle intervention for adults with obesity, but can be time and resource intensive when delivered via traditional face-to-face care. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and optimal timing of using telephone calls and text message as adjunctive tools to support a community-based obesity management program. Method: This 8-month randomized controlled crossover trial recruited 61 adults with class III obesity (BMI > 40 kg/m2) enrolled in a publicly funded obesity management service (OMS). Participants were randomly assigned to receive telephone and text message support in addition to standard OMS care, or standard OMS care alone. After 4 months, participants crossed over to the alternative sequence. The technological support was based on self-determination theory. Outcome measures included diet, physical activity, anthropometry, self-efficacy, and treatment self-regulation. Results: Telephone and text message support improved lifestyle intervention adherence and clinical outcomes when compared with standard care. Participants who received the intervention in the first 4-month period lost 4.87 kg, compared with no weight loss (+ 0.38 kg) in the standard care only group. There was no evidence to indicate an optimal timing of the intervention, with both groups achieving significant results by the end of the intervention. Conclusion: These results suggest a high degree of promise for the incorporation of telephone and text message support into community-based obesity management services. The findings have the potential to improve existing practices and reduce the burden on the health care system by demonstrating a resource-effective improvement to obesity management service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2019


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