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Weight-loss help on the line

November 24, 2008 | 12:31 pm

Not everyone has easy access to in-person counseling for help with obesity. People living in rural communities, for example, where obesity levels are high, typically lack resources for face-to-face coaching.

Phone2Those in-person interventions may not be too crucial, according to a new study that reveals that telephone counseling may be just as effective as in-person counseling for overweight women trying to lose weight.

A group of 234 women took part in the study, published in the Nov. 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Participants were ages 50 to 75, had a body mass index of more than 30 (generally considered obese), and were from rural parts of northern Florida. All took part in a six-month lifestyle modification program geared to weight loss. After that, about a third of the group was assigned to 26 biweekly individual telephone counseling sessions. Another third received in-person counseling for the same period. And the last third got 26 biweekly newsletters, which included tips on weight-loss maintenance and low-calorie recipes.

At the end of six months, all groups had lost roughly the same amount of weight — about 10 pounds. The women’s BMI scores went down as well, but were also about the same — a reduction of about 3.8 points. Yet during a follow-up from month six to month 18, some changes were noted: women in the face-to-face counseling group and the telephone counseling group had regained an average of 1.2 pounds, while the newsletter group regained an average of 3.7 pounds. In a comparison of total cost, the in-person counseling was the most expensive program, followed by telephone counseling, then the newsletter group.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Howie McCormick / Associated Press

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Comments (2)

Now a days there are many people that are being much more conscious about their health and weight! I believe that if there are more and more encouraging parties, in the following years, every one on earth would be able to lose weight and care for their health!

Thanks for guiding me through this. Rarely do I find good entries that would walk me through. Great post.

-Alexis



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