Background: Web-based weight loss programs are an effective obesity treatment approach with large reach. Adherence is a predictor of web-based program success and is influenced by the addition of contact with a health professional. This feasibility study evaluated the implementation, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of an embedded video call (VC) platform and dietitian consultations to the ClickFit weight loss program.
Methods: Initially participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups: 1) 6-week ClickFit program (CF only) or 2) 6-week ClickFit program + two dietitian video consultations (CF+VC). Early technical issues with the VC platform resulted in inconsistent use. Therefore after the first 10 participants the remainder were allocated to the CF+VC group. Clinical and behavioural variables were assessed a baseline and following program completion. Process evaluation was also undertaken.
Results: Eighteen participants (n=5 CF only; n=13 CF+VC) commenced the study (aged 21-60 years; 72% female, BMI 28.1±2.2 kg/m2), with two withdrawals (CF+VC group). Within-group changes in weight and waist circumference were significant for CF+VC completers (-2.1±1.9 kg and -4.1±3.6 cm; p<0.01) compared to CF only (-2.3±2.4 kg and -1.5±3.6 cm). Significant between-group improvements were found for the CF+VC group in overall diet quality and vegetable intake. For the CF+VC group, 70% of dietitian consultations occurred within the VC platform, with 1.8±0.4 sessions/participant. Most (n=10) agreed the consultations provided useful information on changing behaviours and improving confidence for weight loss.
Conclusions: The addition of dietitian video consultations to a web-based weight loss program was acceptable and demonstrated preliminary efficacy over a 6 week period. The combination of an online program with tailored dietetic video support may address the logistical and systemic challenges associated with access to in-person obesity services. A large trial over a longer duration is required to determine the effectiveness of this treatment strategy for weight management.
This project was funded by a TechVoucher from NSW Trade and Investment and a co-contribution from SP Health Co Pty Ltd.