Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting

Dietitian Connect: a feasibility study to evaluate the addition of video consultations with a dietitian to a web-based weight loss program. (#165)

Megan E Rollo 1 , Melinda J Hutchesson 1 , Penelope McCoy 2 , Clare E Collins
  1. Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
  2. SP Health Co Pty Ltd, North Sydney, NSW, Australia

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.