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Remote treatment successfully delivers a usual-care weight loss and lifestyle intervention in adults with morbid obesity.

INTRODUCTION: Remote delivery of behavioral and lifestyle interventions has shown great potential for achieving weight loss comparable to in-person treatment. However, little is known about its effects on adherence and efficacy in a real-world setting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our usual care, a 12-months treatment program for morbid obesity, had to be transitioned to remote delivery. We evaluated whether this had adverse effects on weight loss or adherence.

METHODS: We report retrospective data of 234 patients who either belonged to a cohort affected by the transition of treatment delivery (N=117, mean age = 44.2 years; BMI = 47.7 kg/m²) or to an individually matched control group treated prior to the pandemic (N=117, 44.4 years; 47.3 kg/m²). Weight loss, drop-outs, and attendance were compared between both groups and between remote and regular treatment periods.

RESULTS: Weight loss and the number of drop-outs did not differ between the two groups and between treatment periods. However, attendance at remotely offered meetings was lower in the pandemic group (72.5%) when compared to the same meetings offered face-to-face in the control group (81.0%, p < .001).

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: Usual-care weight loss and lifestyle interventions for morbid obesity can be successfully delivered via remote treatment.

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