Standard behavioral weight loss (SBWL) interventions produce significant short-term weight loss, which has been shown to be associated with improved health-related outcomes. However, these interventions are typically intensive and require regular in-person sessions, which can be costly to deliver and may not be feasible for all individuals. Thus, alternative and less intensive delivery strategies are needed that will produce significant weight loss and may be more widely applied.
PURPOSE: This study compared a 12-week email delivered thematic campaign intervention (CI) to a standard on-site, group-based SBWL in sedentary, overweight/obese adults (age: 43.1 ± 8.9 years; BMI: 33.3 ± 3.7 kg/m2).
METHODS: SBWL participants (n=13) attended weekly group meetings, were prescribed a daily reduced caloric goal and 200 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) per week. CI participants (n=13) received the same dietary and PA recommendations as the SBWL, attended in-person group meetings only at week 0 and 12, and received tailored e-mail messages weeks 1-11. Additional CI features included a thematic framework and an incentive-based point system targeting study behavioral goals.
RESULTS: The observed pre-post mean weight loss for completers analysis in the SBWL was (n=12; -6.1 ± 2.5 kg) and the CI (n=10; -4.0 ± 3.4 kg) (p<0.001) and intention-to-treat (ITT) (SBWL: -5.6 ± 2.9 kg; CI: -3.1 ± 3.4 kg) (p<0.001), with no between group difference. Pre-post PA also increased for completers in the SBWL (153.5 ± 80.7 mins/wk) and the CI (190.8 ± 241.1 mins/wk) (p<0.001) and ITT (SBWL: 141.7 ± 88.3 mins/wk; CI: 146.8 ± 224.9 mins/wk) (p<0.001), with no between group difference.
CONCLUSION: Short-term weight loss and increased PA was achieved using an e-mail delivered thematic CI. Therefore, the CI may provide an alternative approach to disseminate a behavioral weight loss program; however, confirmation of these findings and studies of longer duration are needed.